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Reports (Research Report) Year : 1998

Alternative Schemes for High-Bandwidth Instruction Fetching


Future processors combining out-of-order execution with aggressive speculation techniques will need to fetch multiple non-consecutive instruction blocks in a single cycle to achieve high-performance. Several high-bandwidth instruction fetching schemes have been proposed in the past few years. The Two-Block Ahead (TBA) branch predictor predicts two non-consecutive instruction blocks per cycle while relying on a conventional instruction cache. The trace cache (TC) records traces of instructions and delivers multiple non-consecutive instruction blocks to the execution core. The aim of this paper is to investigate the pros and cons of both approaches. Maintaining consistency between memory and TC is not a straightforward issue. We propose a simple hardware scheme to maintain consistency at a reasonable performance loss (1 to 5%). We also introduce a new fill unit heuristic for TC, the mispredict hint, that leads to significantly better performance (up to 20 %). This is mainly due to better prediction accuracy results and TC miss ratios. TBA requires double-ported or bank-interleaved structures to supply two non-consecutive blocks in a single cycle. We show that a 4-way interleaving scheme is cost-effective since it impairs performance by only 3 to 5%. Finally, simulation results show that such an enhanced TC scheme delivers higher performance than TBA when caches are large, due to a lower branch misprediction penalty and a higher instruction bandwidth on mispredictions. When the hardware budget is smaller, TBA outperforms TC because of a higher TC miss ratio and branch misprediction rate.


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inria-00073297 , version 1 (24-05-2006)


  • HAL Id : inria-00073297 , version 1


Pierre Michaud, André Seznec, Stéphan Jourdan, Pascal Sainrat. Alternative Schemes for High-Bandwidth Instruction Fetching. [Research Report] RR-3392, INRIA. 1998. ⟨inria-00073297⟩
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