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One of the major design decisions when developing a new microprocessor is determining the target pipeline depth and clock rate since both factors interact closely with one another. The optimal pipeline depth of a processor has been studied before, but the impact of the memory system on pipeline performance has received less attention. This study analyzes the affect of different level-1 cache designs across a range of pipeline depths to determine what role the memory system design plays in choosing a clock rate and pipeline depth for a microprocessor. The pipeline depths studied here range from those found in current processors to those predicted for future processors. For each pipeline depth a variety of level-1 cache sizes are simulated to explore the relationship between clock rate, pipeline depth, cache size and access latency. Results show that the larger caches afforded by shorter pipelines with slower clocks outperform longer pipelines with smaller caches and higher clock rates.