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There is a clear trend towards multi-cores to meet the performance requirements of emerging and future applications. A different way to scale performance is, however, to specialize the cores for specific application domains. This option is especially attractive for low-cost embedded systems where less silicon area directly translates to less cost. We propose architectural enhancements to specialize the Cell SPE for video decoding. Specifically, based on deficiencies we observed in the H.264 kernels, we propose a handful of application-specific instructions to improve performance. The speedups achieved are between 1.84 and 2.37.
Date of Conference: 7-9 July 2009