Skip to Main Content
Over the past couple of decades, trends in both microarchitecture and underlying semiconductor technology have significantly reduced microprocessor clock periods. These trends have significantly increased relative main-memory latencies as measured in processor clock cycles. To avoid large performance losses caused by long memory access delays, microprocessors rely heavily on a hierarchy of cache memories. But cache memories are not always effective, either because they are not large enough to hold a program's working set, or because memory access patterns don't exhibit behavior that matches a cache memory's demand-driven, line-structured organization. To partially overcome cache memories' limitations, we organize data cache prefetch information in a new way, a GHB (global history buffer) supports existing prefetch algorithms more effectively than conventional prefetch tables. It reduces stale table data, improving accuracy and reducing memory traffic. It contains a more complete picture of cache miss history and is smaller than conventional tables.