Yet Another Compressed Cache: a Low Cost Yet Effective Compressed Cache

Abstract : Cache memories play a critical role in bridging the latency, bandwidth, and energy gaps between cores and off-chip memory. However, caches frequently consume a significant fraction of a multicore chip's area, and thus account for a significant fraction of its cost. Compression has the potential to improve the effective capacity of a cache, providing the performance and energy benefits of a larger cache while using less area. The design of a compressed cache must address two important issues: i) a low-latency, low-overhead compression algorithm that can represent a fixed-size cache block using fewer bits and ii) a cache organization that can efficiently store the resulting variable-size compressed blocks. This paper focuses on the latter issue. In this paper, we propose YACC (Yet Another Compressed Cache), a new compressed cache design that targets improving effective cache capacity with a simple design. YACC uses super-blocks to reduce tag overheads, while packing variable-size compressed blocks to reduce internal fragmentation. YACC achieves the benefits of two state-of-the art compressed caches, Decoupled Compressed Cache (DCC) [Sardashti et al. 2013] and Skewed Compressed Cache (SCC) [Sardashti et al. 2014], with a more practical and simpler design. YACC's cache layout is similar to conventional caches, with a largely unmodified tag array and unmodified data array. Compared to DCC and SCC, YACC requires neither the significant extra metadata (i.e., back-pointers) needed by DCC to track blocks nor the complexity and overhead of skewed associativity (i.e., indexing ways differently) needed by SCC. An additional advantage over previous work is that YACC enables modern replacement mechanisms, such as RRIP. For our benchmark set, compared to a conventional uncompressed 8MB LLC, YACC improves performance by 8% on average and up to 26%, and reduces total energy by on average 6% and up to 20%. An 8MB YACC achieves approximately the same performance and energy improvements as a 16MB conventional cache at a much smaller silicon footprint, with only 1.6% greater area than an 8MB conventional cache. YACC performs comparably to DCC and SCC, but is much simpler to implement.
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Somayeh Sardashti, André Seznec, David A. Wood. Yet Another Compressed Cache: a Low Cost Yet Effective Compressed Cache. ACM Transactions on Architecture and Code Optimization, Association for Computing Machinery, 2016, pp.25. ⟨⟩. ⟨hal-01354248⟩



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