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Memory bandwidth has become a major performance bottleneck as more and more cores are integrated onto a single die, demanding more and more data from the system memory. Several prior studies have demonstrated that this memory bandwidth problem can be addressed by employing a 3D-stacked memory architecture, which provides a wide, high frequency memory-bus interface. Although previous 3D proposals already provide as much bandwidth as a traditional L2 cache can consume, the dense through-silicon-vias (TSVs) of 3D chip stacks can provide still more bandwidth. In this paper, we contest that we need to re-architect our memory hierarchy, including the L2 cache and DRAM interface, so that it can take full advantage of this massive bandwidth. Our technique, SMART-3D, is a new 3D-stacked memory architecture with a vertical L2 fetch/write-back network using a large array of TSVs. Simply stated, we leverage the TSV bandwidth to hide latency behind very large data transfers. We analyze the design trade-offs for the DRAM arrays, careful enough to avoid compromising the DRAM density because of TSV placement. Moreover, we propose an efficient mechanism to manage the false sharing problem when implementing SMART-3D in a multi-socket system. For single-threaded memory-intensive applications, the SMART-3D architecture achieves speedups from 1.53 to 2.14 over planar designs and from 1.27 to 1.72 over prior 3D designs. We achieve similar speedups for multi-program and multi-threaded workloads on multi-core and multi-socket processors. Furthermore, SMART-3D can even lower the energy consumption in the L2 cache and 3D DRAM for it reduces the total number of row buffer misses.
Date of Conference: 9-14 Jan. 2010