Hardware Investigate

Guiding Architectural SRAM Models

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Executive Summary

Caches, block memories, predictors, state tables, and other forms of on-chip memory are continuing to consume a greater portion of processor designs with each passing year. Making good architectural decisions early in the design process requires a reasonably accurate model for these important structures. Dealing with continuously changing SRAM design practices and VLSI technologies make this a very difficult problem. Most hand-built memory models capture only a single parameterized design and fail to account for changes in design practice for different size memories or problems with wire scaling. Instead, in this paper the authors present a high level model that can be used to make simple analytical estimates. The model is built using the characterization of almost 60 real memory designs from the past 15 years.

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