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2 Author(s)
Ilhyun Kim ; Dept. of Electr. & Comput. Eng., Wisconsin Univ., Madison, WI, USA ; M. H. Lipasti

Current-generation microprocessors are designed to process instructions with one and two source operands at equal cost. Handling two source operands requires multiple ports for each instruction in structures, such as the register file and wakeup logic, which are often in the processor's critical timing paths. We argue that these structures are overdesigned since only a small fraction of instructions require two source operands to be processed simultaneously. We propose the half-price architecture that judiciously removes this overdesign by restricting the processor's capability to handle two source operands in certain timing-critical cases. Two techniques are proposed and evaluated: one for the wakeup logic is sequential wakeup, which decouples half of the tag matching logic from the wakeup bus to reduce the load capacitance of the bus. The other technique for the register file is sequential register access, which halves the register read ports by sequentially accessing two values using a single port when needed. We show that a pipeline that optimizes scheduling and register access for a single operand achieves nearly the same performance as an ideal base machine that fully handles two operands, with 2.2% (worst case 4.8%) IPC degradation.

Published in:

Computer Architecture, 2003. Proceedings. 30th Annual International Symposium on

Date of Conference:

9-11 June 2003