Posted by: englishdubai | March 24, 2007


The amount of resources and technological achievement that goes into making a microprocessor is often taken for granted. As I write this blog the AMD processor at the heart of my PC is performing hundreds of thousands of calculations a second that allow me to instant message, blog, email and listen to a mp3. It was with some excitement that I took a trip to the place where this is all comes alive and that is the AMDs Fabrication plant that is located in Dresden, Germany.

The site is huge with hundreds of of square meters of “clean room”, its own water supply and two on site power stations. If both power stations were to fail they are able to use the local grid – I can imagine most of the lights in Dresden dimming if this were to happen. As fabrication plants are high security establishments I was unable to bring my camera. Below is an aerial shot to give you an idea of the scale of the facility:

We enjoyed a tour of the facility, and even glimpsed the “Clean Room”. The levels of quality assurance, design and pride in which the employees here take in their work is remarkable. We were shown atomic level pictures as we were lectured in depth about “sub-atomic” gates and the nano technology. The work that goes into producing a modern day microprocessor is staggering.

Once the tour was over we got a chance to take a walking tour around Dresden. A lot of Brits like myself wonder what there is left of Dresden following the amount of bombing it received during World War II – the answer was baroque architecture and history to rival anything in Western Europe. Despite being exposed to a bitterly cold wind for two hours it was worth it while to see Dresden by night. It was hard to hold the camera still in the cold but all my pictures are here. As an example here is the Hofkirche or Church of the Royal Court:

Following the tour we went for dinner at a traditional restaurant which proved to be a very entertaining evening. Here is the team photo:

There was a nice band playing some background music. Later on in the evening the vocalist from the group got upstaged when my colleague Nthabeleng displayed her remarkable singing talents with soul-inspiring renditions of “Killing Me Softly”, “You Make Feel (Like A Natural Woman)” and “Some people want it all”. Here is Nthabeleng in full flow:

Looking back on the event – the tour, the key note by Brian Wilson, the tour of Dresden and fun and song filled evening we had with our customers and partners – I came away remembering why I joined Sun Microsystems over six years ago. We always wanted to be different.


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