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Static energy reduction techniques for microprocessor caches

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5 Author(s)
Hanson, H. ; Electr. & Comput. Eng. Dept., Univ. of Texas, Austin, TX, USA ; Hrishikesh, M.S. ; Agarwal, V. ; Keckler, S.W.
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Microprocessor performance has been improved by increasing the capacity of on-chip caches. However, the performance gain comes at the price of static energy consumption due to subthreshold leakage current in cache memory arrays. This paper compares three techniques for reducing static energy consumption in on-chip level-1 and level-2 caches. One technique employs low-leakage transistors in the memory cell. Another technique, power supply switching, can be used to turn off memory cells and discard their contents. A third alternative is dynamic threshold modulation, which places memory cells in a standby state that preserves cell contents. In our experiments, we explore the energy and performance tradeoffs of these techniques. We also investigate the sensitivity of microprocessor performance and energy consumption to additional cache latency caused by leakage-reduction techniques.

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Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) Systems, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:11 ,  Issue: 3 )