Using Dead Blocks as a Virtual Victim Cache

Date Added: Aug 2009
Format: PDF

Caches mitigate the long memory latency that limits the performance of modern processors. However, caches can be quite inefficient. On average, a cache block in a 2MB L2 cache is dead 59% of the time, i.e., it will not be referenced again before it is evicted. Increasing cache efficiency can improve performance by reducing miss rate, or alternately, improve power and energy by allowing a smaller cache with the same miss rate. This paper proposes using predicted dead blocks to hold blocks evicted from other sets. When these evicted blocks are referenced again, the access can be satisfied from the other set, avoiding a costly access to main memory. The pool of predicted dead blocks can be thought of as a virtual victim cache.