Increasing Cache Port Efficiency for Dynamic Superscalar Microprocessors

Ken Wilson

In this talk we evaluate the performance of high bandwidth caches that employ multiple ports, multiple cycle hit times, on-chip DRAM, and a line buffer to find the organization that provides the best processor performance. Processor performance is measured in execution time using a dynamic superscalar processor running realistic benchmarks that include operating system references. The results show that a large dual-ported multi-cycle pipelined SRAM cache with a line buffer maximizes processor performance. A large pipelined cache provides both a low miss rate and a high CPU clock frequency. Dual-porting the cache and the use of a line buffer provide the bandwidth needed by a dynamic superscalar processor. In addition, the line buffer makes the pipelined dual-ported cache the best option by reducing port contention and hiding cache latency. Our experiments with on-chip DRAM suggest that although DRAM significantly reduces off-chip bandwidth, it does so at the cost of processor performance.