Typical Prescott ball solder - Coutesy of Chipworks

Copper pillar connection found on Presler and Yonah CPUs - Couresy of Chipworks
The first looks inside Yonah and Presler reveal some interesting techniques regarding the manufacturing process

Chipworks, a company that reverse engineers semiconductors, had the chance to crack open two of Intel's newest 65nm CPUs.  The company was excited to find that typical solder connections had been completely replaced with copper pillar interconnects. 

“Previous Intel processor generations such as the ‘Prescott’ used conventional flip-chip technology with lead-tin (Pb-Sn) solder balls,” adds Dick James, senior technology advisor at Chipworks. “For the Yonah and Presler, Intel has switched to a process that uses plated copper pillars to form the interconnection between die and board. This reduces the lead content over traditional flip-chip packaging even in the latest “Pb-free” devices. This is the first processor seen by Chipworks to use this advanced flip-chip technique.”

The move from solder to other lead-free manufacturing processes was mandated by RoHS and other legislation in Europe several months ago.  However, Intel engineers seem to have gone beyond the mandate by replacing solder altogether instead of just removing the lead content. 

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007

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