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Several technologies are leveraged to establish an architecture for a low-cost, high-performance memory controller and memory system that more than double the effective size of the installed main memory without significant added cost. This architecture is the first of its kind to employ real-time main-memory content compression at a performance competitive with the best the market has to offer. A large low-latency shared cache exists between the processor bus and a content-compressed main memory. High-speed, low-latency hardware performs real-time compression and decompression of data traffic between the shared cache and the main memory. Sophisticated memory management hardware dynamically allocates main-memory storage in small sectors to accommodate storing the variable-sized compressed data without the need for “garbage” collection or significant wasted space due to fragmentation. Though the main-memory compression ratio is limited to the range 1:1–64:1, typical ratios range between 2:1 a nd 6:1, as measured in “real-world” system applications.
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