Reducing DRAM Row Activations with Eager Writeback
Master of Science thesis
This thesis describes and evaluates a new approach to optimizing DRAM performance and energy consumption that is based on eagerly writing dirty cache lines to DRAM. Under this approach, dirty cache lines that have not been recently accessed are eagerly written to DRAM when the corresponding row has been activated by an ordinary access, such as a read. This approach enables clustering of reads and writes that target the same row, resulting in a significant reduction in row activations. Specifically, for 29 applications, it reduces the number of DRAM row activations by an average of 38% and a maximum of 81%. The results from a full system simulator show that for the 29 applications, 11 have performance improvements between 10% and 20%, and 9 have improvements in excess of 20%. Furthermore, 10 consume between 10% and 20% less DRAM energy, and 10 have energy consumption reductions in excess of 20%.