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An hybrid eDRAM/SRAM macrocell to implement first-level data caches
Valero, Alejandro; Sahuquillo, Julio; Petit, Salvador; Lorente, Vicente; Canal Corretger, Ramon; López, Pedro; Duato, José
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Departament d'Arquitectura de Computadors; Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. ARCO - Microarquitectura i Compiladors
SRAM and DRAM cells have been the predominant technologies used to implement memory cells in computer systems, each one having its advantages and shortcomings. SRAM cells are faster and require no refresh since reads are not destructive. In contrast, DRAM cells provide higher density and minimal leakage energy since there are no paths within the cell from Vdd to ground. Recently, DRAM cells have been embedded in logic-based technology, thus overcoming the speed limit of typical DRAM cells. In this paper we propose an n-bit macrocell that implements one static cell, and n-1 dynamic cells. This cell is aimed at being used in an n-way set-associative first-level data cache. Our study shows that in a four-way set-associative cache with this macrocell compared to an SRAM based with the same capacity, leakage is reduced by about 75% and area more than half with a minimal impact on performance. Architectural mechanisms have also been devised to avoid refresh logic. Experimental results show that no performance is lost when the retention time is larger than 50K processor cycles. In addition, the proposed delayed writeback policy that avoids refreshing performs a similar amount of writebacks than a conventional cache with the same organization, so no power wasting is incurred.
Àrees temàtiques de la UPC::Informàtica::Arquitectura de computadors
Computer storage devices
Static and dynamic memory cells
Retention time
Leakage current
Ordinadors -- Memòries
Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)

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