Technical Report 2003-046

The Elbow Cache: A Power-Efficient Alternative to Highly Associative Caches

Mathias Spjuth, Martin Karlsson, and Erik Hagersten

September 2003

Increasing the associativity is a common way to reduce the performance-detrimental conflicts in a cache. From a dynamic cache power perspective this associativity comes at a high cost. In this paper we present miss ratio performance and dynamic power estimates for a skewed cache and also for the organization proposed in this paper, the elbow cache. We will show that by extending a skewed cache organization with a relocation strategy we can obtain a miss ratio that is comparable to the miss ratio of an 8-way set-associative cache, while consuming up to 48% less dynamic power.

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