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The load/store pipe for a low-power 1-GHz embedded processor is described. For area savings and logic complexity reduction, the load/store pipe is clocked at twice the frequency of the processor core. It can sustain two load or store operations per core clock cycle with zero load to use issue latency. The address generation unit for one of the two load/store pipes takes advantage of the common addressing mode in MIPS 64 ISA to generate the address within a core clock phase. Phase borrowing is employed in the translation lookaside buffer (TLB) design to enable a lookup process within a core clock phase. The data cache design enables the activation of a minimum number of data bank arrays for power savings. Small-swing differential buses are used for multiple address and data buses for improved signal transmission latency. The quadrature clocks used to derive the 2× clock are generated with a novel 4-to-1 divider and distributed with matched paths, all to reduce the duty cycle variation of the 2× clock phase. The design has been implemented in a 0.13-μm CMOS process.
Date of Publication: Nov. 2003