Reducing DRAM Access Latency by Exploiting DRAM Leakage Characteristics and Common Access Patterns

Hasan Hassan

DRAM-based memory is a critical factor that creates a bottleneck on the system performance since the processor speed largely outperforms the DRAM latency. In this thesis, we develop a low-cost mechanism, called ChargeCache, which enables faster access to recently-accessed rows in DRAM, with no modifications to DRAM chips. Our mechanism is based on the key observation that a recently-accessed row has more charge and thus the following access to the same row can be performed faster. To exploit this observation, we propose to track the addresses of recently-accessed rows in a table in the memory controller. If a later DRAM request hits in that table, the memory controller uses lower timing parameters, leading to reduced DRAM latency. Row addresses are removed from the table after a specified duration to ensure rows that have leaked too much charge are not accessed with lower latency. We evaluate ChargeCache on a wide variety of workloads and show that it provides significant performance and energy benefits for both single-core and multi-core systems.

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