Reducing Memory Reference Energy With Opportunistic Virtual Caching
Most modern cores perform a highly-associative Translation Look aside Buffer (TLB) lookup on every memory access. These designs often hide the TLB lookup latency by overlapping it with L1 cache access, but this overlap does not hide the power dissipated by TLB lookups. It can even exacerbate the power dissipation by requiring higher associativity L1 cache. With today's concern for power dissipation, designs could instead adopt a virtual L1 cache, wherein TLB access power is dissipated only after L1 cache misses. Unfortunately, virtual caches have compatibility issues, such as supporting writeable synonyms and x86's physical page table walker.