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A conventional Network-on-Chip (NoC) router uses input buffers to store in-flight packets. These buffers improve performance, but consume significant power. It is possible to bypass these buffers when they are empty, reducing dynamic power, but static buffer power, and dynamic power when buffers are utilized, remains. To improve energy efficiency, bufferless deflection routing removes input buffers, and instead uses deflection (misrouting) to resolve contention. However, at high network load, deflections cause unnecessary network hops, wasting power and reducing performance. In this paper, the authors propose a new NoC router design called the Minimally-Buffered Deflection (MinBD) router. This router combines deflection routing with a small "Side buffer," which is much smaller than conventional input buffers.
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