doi: 10.7873/DATE.2015.0969

Exploiting DRAM Restore Time Variations in Deep Sub-micron Scaling

Xianwei Zhang1,a, Youtao Zhang1,b, Bruce R. Childers1,c and Jun Yang2

1Computer Science Department, University of Pittsburgh, USA.

2Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, University of Pittsburgh, USA.


Recent studies reveal that one of the major challenges in scaling DRAM in deep sub-micron regime is its significant variations on cell restore time, which affects timing constraints such as write recovery time tWR. Adopting traditional approaches results in either low yield rate or large performance degradation. In this paper, we propose schemes to expose the variations to the architectural level. By constructing memory chunks with different accessing speeds and, in particular, exploiting the performance benefits of fast chunks, a variation-aware memory controller can effectively compensate the performance loss due to relaxed timing constraints. Our experimental results show that, comparing to traditional designs such as row sparing and ECC, the proposed schemes help to improve system performance by up to 10.3% and 12.9%, respectively, for 20nm and 14nm tech nodes on a 4-core multiprocessor system.

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