doi: 10.7873/DATE.2015.0509

Energy-Efficient Cache Design in Emerging Mobile Platforms: The Implications and Optimizations

Kaige Yana and Xin Fub

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering University of Houston, Houston, TX, USA.


Mobile devices are quickly becoming the most widely used processors in consumer devices. Since their major power supply is battery, the energy-efficient computing is highly desired. In this paper, we focus on the energy-efficient cache design in emerging mobile platforms. We observe that more than 40% of L2 cache accesses are OS kernel accesses in interactive smartphone applications. Such frequent kernel accesses cause serious interferences between the user and kernel blocks in the L2 cache, leading to the unnecessary block replacements and high L2 cache miss rate. We propose to partition the L2 cache into two separate segments which can only be accessed by the user code and kernel code, respectively. Meanwhile, the overall size of the two segments is shrunk, which greatly reduces the energy consumption by 15% while still maintains the similar cache miss rate. We further find completely different access behaviors between the two separated kernel and user segments in our novel L2 cache design, and explore the multi-retention STT-RAM based user and kernel segments to maximize the cache energy savings. The experimental results show that our techniques significantly reduce the cache energy consumption (e.g. 75%) with only 2% performance loss in emerging smartphones.

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