An Adaptive Various-Width Data Cache for Low Power Design

Jiongyao YE  Yu WAN  Takahiro WATANABE  

Publication
IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Information and Systems   Vol.E94-D   No.8   pp.1539-1546
Publication Date: 2011/08/01
Online ISSN: 1745-1361
DOI: 10.1587/transinf.E94.D.1539
Print ISSN: 0916-8532
Type of Manuscript: PAPER
Category: Computer System
Keyword: 
low power,  data cache,  frequent values,  narrow-width values,  

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Summary: 
Modern microprocessors employ caches to bridge the great speed variance between a main memory and a central processing unit, but these caches consume a larger and larger proportion of the total power consumption. In fact, many values in a processor rarely need the full-bit dynamic range supported by a cache. The narrow-width value occupies a large portion of the cache access and storage. In view of these observations, this paper proposes an Adaptive Various-width Data Cache (AVDC) to reduce the power consumption in a cache, which exploits the popularity of narrow-width value stored in the cache. In AVDC, the data storage unit consists of three sub-arrays to store data of different widths. When high sub-arrays are not used, they are closed to save its dynamic and static power consumption through the modified high-bit SRAM cell. The main advantages of AVDC are: 1) Both the dynamic and static power consumption can be reduced. 2) Low power consumption is achieved by the modification of the data storage unit with less hardware modification. 3) We exploit the redundancy of narrow-width values instead of compressed values, thus cache access latency does not increase. Experimental results using SPEC 2000 benchmarks show that our proposed AVDC can reduce the power consumption, by 34.83% for dynamic power saving and by 42.87% for static power saving on average, compared with a cache without AVDC.