Most Taiwan motherboard companies are technically ready for lead-free production of products conforming to tighter environmental protection requirements.
Legislation in Japan and Europe is gradually tightening on both the use of hazardous materials in electronics manufacturing and the issue of PC recycling. Japan has led the world for several years in promoting lead-free and halogen-free electronics equipment manufacturing and, on October 1, the country's Personal Computer Recycling Law went into effect. In Europe the Restriction of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (ROHS) and Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directives are set to come into effect next year, with all equipment available in Europe required to be lead-free by July 1, 2006.
Taiwan's motherboard manufacturers are ready to conform, but the companies estimate the new requirements will increase production cost of their boards by US$3 to US$5 per unit. This does not include any change in the costs of the other components used on the board, for example the chipsets.
With Intel expected to offer a version of its Grantsdale chipset in a lead-free package in the second-quarter of 2004, companies are planning to roll-out lead-free motherboards at that time.