Intel pledges conflict-free microprocessor by end of 2013

Intel pledges conflict-free microprocessor by end of 2013

Summary: The company hopes to do away with conflict-tainted tantalum by the end of 2012, with validation for gold, tin and tungsten targeted for late next year.

TOPICS: Emerging Tech, Intel

Intel has pledged to continue squeezing the amount of water and electricity it uses to manufacture its processors -- as well as the amount of energy needed to run them. The company is also taking aggressive steps to comply with new regulations related to conflict minerals.

In its 2011 Corporate Responsibility Report, Intel said it plans by the end of 2012 to eliminate tantalum from conflict-associated sources; by the end of 2013, it is striving to receive validation for producing the first microprocessor that is conflict-free for gold, tantalum, tin and tungsten.

The company writes:

"In practice, our products may already be free of conflict minerals, but it is not possible to know with certainty until a mature system is in place that can validate smelters in our supply chain as 'conflict-free.' Intel and others in our industry have been working together to create such a system. This is a stretch goal for our company given the significant work still ahead and some of the roadblocks and obstacles that exist. However, we believe that this goal can help drive action on this issue and inspire other companies to set their own goals to move our industry more quickly toward improving the situation in the [Democratic Republic of Congo] and surrounding region."

The conflict minerals issue has become a more pressing concern for high-tech companies since the passage of the Dodd-Frank act. That legislation requires publicly traded companies to disclose sourcing of so-called conflict minerals in their reporting starting in 2012 — unless something happens to make the law disappear. The rule requires companies to declare whether their products contain minerals mined from DRC or neighboring countries. That's because the sales of these minerals are often tied to the practice of arming the militia in those regions.

In the 2011 Corporate Responsibility Report, Intel also disclosed its new goal of improving the energy efficiency of its notebook computers and data center technologies by a factor of 25x between 2010 and 2020. (That means, of course, that it is already two years into this particular commitment.)

Intel measures data center efficiency according to how its server technologies perform against the SPECPower_ssj2008 benchmark. The baseline for its efficiency goal is the E56xx series processors. When it comes to notebooks, Intel looks at average battery life, battery capacity and recharge cycles.

When it comes to its own operations, Intel said it will continue to reduce the amount of water used per-chip basis between 2010 and 2010.

In addition, the company hope to reduce its energy usage by an additional 1.4 kilowatt-hours between 2012 and 2012. Intel has already completed more than 1,500 energy efficient and conservation projections in the past decade. Those efforts have helped the company save more than 825 million kilowatt-hours, along with $10.9 million in energy costs.

Related stories:

Topics: Emerging Tech, Intel

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Dates

    Heather, not that I'm one to nitpick things, but these two sentences are confusing from a time span:

    "When it comes to its own operations, Intel said it will continue to reduce the amount of water used per-chip basis between 2010 and 2010."


    "In addition, the company hope to reduce its energy usage by an additional 1.4 kilowatt-hours between 2012 and 2012."

    Great article btw! Very informative!
  • Nice but

    But will it blend?
    As long as at my end it works and does not cost too much.
  • Improving energy efficiency and reducing heat output

    I'm glad to hear Intel has a goal in writing to reduce the energy consumption (and heat waste) of its processors. I hope this also includes their chipsets. It has gotten ridiculously expensive to power and cool their high end chips over the long term. The fact that we now need 1kW+ power supplies in our desktop render boxes is just nuts. Personally, I'd like to see NVIDIA making the same power efficiency pledge.
    • What do you expect?

      High end components, like the ones you're implying, have ALWAYS had higher power requirements. Low power stuff exists, as long as you're content rendering on an Atom processor or budget GPUs - If you've got patience. If you want Quadro or GeForce 690 rendering speeds without a kilowatt PSU, then you're asking to walk in the rain and not get wet.
      • Yup

        Things can be done to reduce power consumption but for high end performance your going to burn watts. No the truth to be out that data centers could recycle the energy used IF. However the IF part seams to be a stumbling block. No one is capable of realizing a multidisciplinary vision. What good is a damn polymath?
        Ummm what is the catalog number for that item you speak of? lol
        If power consumption such a factor, if the energy can be recycled, and then everyone says " the laws of thermodynamics" as if they knew what those laws were. Well have I got a shocker like yes the laws of thermodynamics are a good thing so its just to bad everyone wants to misapply them. Just my cry in the wilderness. I could design a system in months but if no one is interested I won't bother. My problem is I do not know how to bring this to the attention on anyone other than cries in the wilderness. Were talking billion per year in US alone. No one wants billions money is worthless? Only a hand full have caught on to what I am talking about and evidently not at the top either. So is efficiency really any issue at all? In laptops perhaps so you can advertise a longer battery life. If nothing else how about the enormous pile of coal this can save. There is a gap in energy thinking. You don't get something for nothing but if you have it why do you throw it away?
  • Nice! I like my "chips" to be less watery.

  • Hmmmmm

    Conflict tantalum. Conflict diamonds. Conflict companies.
  • certified ethical hacker

    Concern over the use of 'conflict minerals' has led Intel to work towards a processor that includes no minerals. From <a href="">certified ethical hacker</a>