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Chapter 5 Memory Hierarchy Design

Chapter 5 Memory Hierarchy Design

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Chapter 5 Memory Hierarchy Design

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  1. Chapter 5Memory Hierarchy Design

  2. Introduction • The necessity of memory-hierarchy in a computer system design is enabled by the following two factors: • Locality of reference: The nature of program behavior • Large gap in speed between CPU and mass storage devices such a DRAM. • Level of memory hierarchy • High level <--- --> Low level • CPU Register, Cache, Main-memory, Disk • The levels of the hierarchy subset one another: all data in one level is also found in the level below.

  3. Memory Hierarchy

  4. Speed Gap between CPU and DRAM

  5. Memory Hierarchy Difference between Desktops and Embedded Processors • Memory hierarchy for desktops • Speed • Memory hierarchy for Embedded Processors • Real-time applications need to care about worst-case performance. • Concerning about power consumption. • No memory hierarchy actually needed for simple and fix applications running on embedded processors. • Main memory itself may be quite small.

  6. ABCs of Caches • Recalling some terms • Cache: The name given to the first level of the memory hierarchy encountered once the address leaves the CPU. • Miss rate: The fraction of accesses not in the cache. • Miss penalty: The additional time to service the miss. • Block: The minimum unit of information that can be present in the cache. • Four questions about any level of the hierarchy: • Q1: Where can a block be placed in the upper level? (Block placement) • Q2: How is a block found if it is in the upper level? (Block identification) • Q3: Which block should be replaced on a miss? (Block replacement) • Q4: What happens on a write? (Write strategy)

  7. Cache Performance • Formula for performance evaluation • CPU execution time = (CPU clock cycles + Memory stall cycles) * Clock cycle time =IC *(CPIexecution + Memory stall clock cycles/IC)*Clock cycle time • Memory stall cycles = IC * Memory reference per instruction *miss rate *miss penalty • Measure of memory-hierarchy performance Average memory access time = Hit time + Miss rate * Miss penalty • Example on page 395. • Example on page 396.

  8. Four Memory Hierarchy Questions Q1: Where can a block be placed in the upper level? ( block placement) Q2: How is a block found if it is in the upper level? ( block identification) Q3: Which block should be replaced on a miss? ( block replacement) Q4: What happens on a write? ( write strategy)

  9. Block Placement (1) • Q1: Where can a block be placed in a cache? • Direct mapped: Each block has only one place it can appear in the cache. The mapping is usually (Block address) MOD (Number of blocks in cache) • Fully associative: A block can be placed anywhere in the cache. • Set associative: A block can be placed in a restricted set of places in the cache. A set is a group of blocks in the cache. A block is first mapped onto a set, and then the block can be placed anywhere within that set. The set is usually obtained by (block address) MOD (Number of sets in a cache) • If there are n blocks in a set, the cache is called n-way set associative.

  10. Block Placement (2)

  11. Block Identification • Q2: How is a block found if it is in the cache • Each cache block consists of • Address tag: Give the block address • Valid bit: Indicate whether or not the associated entry contains a valid address. • Data • Relationship of a CPU address to the cache • Address presented by CPU • Block address ## Block offset • Index: Select the set • Block offset: Select the desired data from the block.

  12. Identification Steps • Index field of the CPU address is used to select a set. • Tag field presented by the CPU is compared in parallel to all address tags of the blocks in the selected set. • If any address tag matches the tag field of the CPU address and its valid bit is true, it is a cache hit. • Offset field is used to select the desired data.

  13. Associativity versus Index Field • If the total cache size is kept the same, • Increasing associativity increases the number of blocks per set, thereby decreasing the size of the index and increasing the size of the tag. • The following formula characterized this property: 2index = (cache size)/(block size *set associativity).

  14. Block Replacement • Q3: Which block should be replaced on a cache miss? • For direct mapped cache, the answer is obvious. • For set associative or fully associative cache, the following two strategies can be used: • Random • Least-recently used (LRU) • First in, first out (FIFO)

  15. Comparison of Miss Rate between Random and LRU • Fig. 5.6 on page 400

  16. Write Strategy • Q4: What happens on a write? • Traffic patterns • “Writes” take about 7% of the overall memory traffic and take about 25% of the data cache traffic. • Though “read “ dominates processor cache traffic, “write” still can not be ignored in a high performance design. • “Read” can be done faster than “write” • In reading, the block data can be read at the same time that the tag is read and compared. • In writing, modifying a block cannot begin until the tag is checked to see if the address is a hit.

  17. Write Policies and Write Miss Options • Write policies • Write through (or store through) • Write to both the block in the cache and the block in the lower-level memory. • Write back • Write only to the block in the cache. A dirty bit, attached to each block in the cache, is set when the block is modified. When a block is being replaced and the dirty bit is set, the block is copy back to main memory. This can reduce bus traffic. • Common options on a write miss • Write allocate • The block is loaded on a write miss, followed by the write-hit. • No-write allocate (write around) • The block is modified in the lower level and not loaded into the cache. • Either write miss option can be used with write through or write back, but write-back caches generally use write allocate and write-through cache often use no-write allocate.

  18. Comparison between Write Through and Write Back • Write back can reduce bus traffic, but the content of cache blocks can be inconsistent with that of the blocks in main memory at some moment. • Write through increases bus traffic, but the content is consistent all the time. • Reduce write stall • Use a writing buffer. As soon as the CPU places the write data into the writing buffer, the CPU is allowed to continue. • Example on page 402

  19. An Example: the Alpha 21264 Data Cache • Features • 64K bytes of data in 64-byte blocks. • Two-way set associative. • Write back with a dirty bit. • Write allocate on a write miss. • The CPU address • 48-bit virtual address • 44-bit physical address • 38-bit block address • 29-bit tag address • 9-bit index, obtained by 2index = 512= 65536/(64*2) • 6-bit block offset • FIFO replacement strategy • What happen on a miss? • 64-byte block is fetched from main memory in four transfer, each takes 5 clock cycles.

  20. Cache Access Steps

  21. Unified versus Split Caches • Unified cache: A cache contains instructions and data. • Spit caches: Data is contained only in data cache, while instruction is contained in instruction cache. • Fig. 5.8 on page 406.

  22. Cache Performance • Average memory access time for processors with in-order execution Average memory access time = Hit time + Miss rate * Miss penalty • Examples on pages 408 and 409 • Miss penalty and out-of-order execution processors Memory stall cycles / instruction = Misses/instruction * (Total miss latency – Overlapped miss latency) • Length of memory latency: Time between the start and the end of a memory reference in an out-of-order processor. • Length of latency overlap: A time period of memory latency overlapping the operations of the processor.

  23. Improving Cache Performance • Reduce the miss rate • Reduce the miss penalty • Reduce the hit time • Reduce the miss penalty or miss rate via parallelism

  24. Reducing Cache Miss Penalty • Multilevel caches • Critical word first and early restart • Giving priority to read misses over writes • Merging write buffers • Victim caches

  25. Multilevel Caches • Question: • Larger cache or faster cache? A contradictory scenario. • Solution: • Adding another level of cache. • Second level cache complicates performance evaluation of cache memory. Average memory access time = Hit timeL1 + Miss rateL1 *Miss penaltyL1 Where, Miss penaltyL1 = Hit timeL2 + Miss rateL2 * Miss penaltyL2

  26. Local and Global Miss Rates • The second-level miss rate is measured on the leftovers from the first-level cache. • Local miss rate (Miss rateL2) • The number of misses in the cache divided by the total number of memory accesses to this cache. • Global miss rate (Miss rateL1 *Miss rateL2) • The number of misses in the cache divided by the total number of memory accesses generated by the CPU.

  27. Miss Rate versus Cache size

  28. Two Insights and Questions • Two insights from the observation of the results shown above: • The global cache miss rate is very similar to the single cache miss rate of the second-level cache. • The local cache miss rate is not a good measure of secondary caches; The global cache miss rate should be used because the effectiveness of second-level cache is a function of the miss rate of the first-level cache. • Two questions for the design of the second-level cache: • Will it lower the average memory access time portion of the CPI, and how much it cost?

  29. Example (P417)

  30. Influence of L2 Hit Time

  31. Early Restart and Critical Word First • Basic idea: Don’t wait for the full block to be loaded before sending the requested word and restarting the CPU. • Two strategies: • Early restart: As soon as the requested word of the block arrives, send it to the CPU and let the CPU continue execution. • Critical word first: Request the missed word first from memory and send it to the CPU as soon as it arrives; let the CPU continue execution while filling the rest of the words in the block. • Example on page 419.

  32. Given Priority to Read Miss over Writes • A write buffer can free the CPU from waiting for the completion of write, but it could hold the updated value of a location needed on a read miss. This complicates memory access, i.e., it may cause a RAW hazard. • Two solutions: • The read miss waits until the write buffer is empty. This certainly increases miss penalty. Or, • Check the contents of the write buffer on a read miss, and let the read miss fetch the data from the write buffer. • Example on page 419

  33. Merging Write Buffers

  34. Victim Caches (1) • Victim cache • A small fully associative cache contains only blocks that are discarded from a cache because of a miss -- “victim”. • The blocks of the victim cache is checked on a miss to see if they have the desired data before going to the next lower-level memory. If it is found there, the victim block and cache block are swapped. • A four entry victim cache can remove 20% to 95% of the conflict misses in a 4-KB direct mapped data cache.

  35. Victim Caches (2)

  36. Reducing Miss Rate • Larger block size • Larger caches • Higher associativity • Way prediction and psudoassociative caches • Compiler optimizations

  37. Miss Categories • Compulsory miss • The first access to a block is not in the cache. • Capacity miss • Occur because of blocks being discarded and later retrieved if the cache cannot contain all the blocks needed during execution of a program. • Conflict miss • Occur because a block can be discarded and later retrieved if two many blocks map to its set for direct mapped or set associative caches. • What can a designer do with the miss rate? • Reduce conflict miss is the easiest: Fully associativity, but very expensive. • Reduce capacity miss: Use large cache. • Reduce compulsory miss: Use large block.

  38. Miss Rate for Each Category

  39. Larger Block Size • Reduce compulsory miss by taking advantage of spatial locality. • Increase miss penalty • Increase capacity miss if cache is small. • The selection of block size depends on both the latency and bandwidth of the lower-level memory: • High latency and high bandwidth encourages larger block sizes. • Low latency and low bandwidth encourages smaller block sizes. • Example on page 426.

  40. Example (P426)

  41. Miss Rate, Block Size versus Cache Size

  42. Average Memory Access Time, Block Size versus Cache Size • Fig. 5.18 on page 428

  43. Larger Caches • Drawbacks • Longer hit time • Higher cost

  44. Higher Associativity • Two general rules of thumb • 8-way set associative is for practical purposes as effective in reducing misses as fully associative. • 2:1 cache rule of thumb • A direct mapped cache of size N has about the same miss rate as a 2-way set-associative cache of size N/2. • The pressure of a fast processor clock cycle encourages simple cache, but the increasing miss penalty rewards associativity • Example on page 429.

  45. Average Memory Access Time versus Associativity • Fig. 5.19 on page 430