A way-halting cache for low-energy high-performance systems

Chuanjun Zhang, Frank Vahid, Jun Yang, Walid Najjar
2004 Proceedings of the 2004 international symposium on Low power electronics and design - ISLPED '04  
Caches contribute to much of a microprocessor system's power and energy consumption. We have developed a new cache architecture, called a way-halting cache, that reduces energy while imposing no performance overhead. Our way-halting cache is a four-way set-associative cache that stores the four lowest-order bits of all ways' tags into a fully associative memory, which we call the halt tag array. The lookup in the halt tag array is done in parallel with, and is no slower than, the set-index
more » ... ing. The halt tag array pre-determines which tags cannot match due to their low-order four bits mismatching. Further accesses to ways with known mismatching tags are then halted, thus saving power. Our halt tag array has an additional feature of using static logic only, rather than dynamic logic used in highly associative caches. We provide data from experiments on 17 benchmarks drawn from MediaBench and Spec 2000, based on our layouts in 0.18 micron CMOS technology. On average, 55% savings of memory-access related energy were obtained over a conventional four-way set-associative cache. We show that energy savings are greater than previous methods, and nearly twice that of highly-associative caches, while imposing no performance overhead and only 2% cache area overhead.
doi:10.1145/1013235.1013272 dblp:conf/islped/ZhangVYN04 fatcat:wdv4klj4fbfl5futtz7ipu5yqq