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Impact of Die-to-Die and Within-Die Parameter Variations on the Clock Frequency and Throughput of Multi-Core Processors

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4 Author(s)
Bowman, K.A. ; Intel Corp., Hillsboro, OR, USA ; Alameldeen, A.R. ; Srinivasan, S.T. ; Wilkerson, C.B.

A statistical performance simulator is developed to explore the impact of parameter variations on the maximum clock frequency (FMAX) and throughput distributions of multi-core processors in a future 22 nm technology. The simulator captures the effects of die-to-die (D2D) and within-die (WID) transistor and interconnect parameter variations on critical path delays in a die. A key component of the simulator is an analytical multi-core processor throughput model, which enables computationally efficient and accurate throughput calculations, as compared with cycle-accurate performance simulators, for single-threaded and highly parallel multi-threaded (MT) workloads. Based on microarchitecture designs from previous microprocessors, three multi-core processors with either small, medium, or large cores are projected for the 22 nm technology generation to investigate a range of design options. These three multi-core processors are optimized for maximum throughput within a constant die area. A traditional single-core processor is also scaled to the 22 nm technology to provide a baseline comparison. The salient contributions from this paper are: 1) product-level variation analysis for multi-core processors must focus on throughput, rather than just FMAX, and 2) multi-core processors are more variation tolerant than single-core processors due to the larger impact of memory latency and bandwidth on throughput. To elucidate these two points, statistical simulations indicate that multi-core and single-core processors with an equivalent total core area have similar FMAX distributions (mean degradation of 9% and standard deviation of 5%) for MT applications. In contrast to single-core processors, memory latency and bandwidth constraints significantly limit the throughput dependency on FMAX in multi-core processors, thus reducing the throughput mean degradation and standard deviation by ~50% for the small and medium core designs and by ~30% for the large core design. This impr- - ovement in the throughput distribution indicates that multi-core processors could significantly reduce the product design and process development complexities due to parameter variations as compared to single-core processors, enabling faster time to market for high-performance microprocessor products.

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Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) Systems, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:17 ,  Issue: 12 )