doi: 10.7873/DATE.2015.1018

Impact of Process-Variations in STTRAM and Adaptive Boosting for Robustness

Seyedhamidreza Motamana, Swaroop Ghoshb and Nitin Rathic

Computer Science and Engineering, University of South Florida, USA.


Spin-Torque Transfer Random Access Memory (STTRAM) is a promising technology for high density on-chip cache due to low standby power. Additionally, it offers fast access time, good endurance and retention. However, it suffers from poor write latency and write power. Additionally we observe that process variation can result in large spread in write and read latency variations. The performance of conventionally designed STTRAM cache can degrade as much as 10% due to process variations. We propose a novel and adaptive write current boosting to address this issue. The bits experiencing worst-case write latency are fixed through write current boosting. Simulations show 80% power improvement compared to boosting all bit-cells and 13% performance improvement compared to worst case latency due to process variation over a wide range of PARSEC benchmarks.

Keywords: STTRAM, Write power, Write current boosting, Process variation, Variation tolerant design.

Full Text (PDF)