Impact of spintronic memory on multicore cache hierarchy design

Cong Ma, William Tuohy, David J. Lilja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Spintronic memory [spin-transfer torque-magnetic random access memory (STT-MRAM)] is an attractive alternative technology to CMOS since it offers higher density and virtually no leakage current. Spintronic memory continues to require higher write energy, however, presenting a challenge to memory hierarchy design when energy consumption is a concern. This study motivates the use of STT-MRAM for the first-level caches of a multicore processor to reduce energy consumption without significantly degrading the performance. The large STT-MRAM first-level cache implementation saves leakage power. Moreover, the use of small level-0 cache regains the performance drop due to STT-MRAM long write latencies. The combination of both reduces the energy-delay product by 65% on average compared with CMOS baseline. The proposed STT hierarchy also shows good scalability over the CMOS with a few benchmarks which scale significantly better. The PARSEC and Splash2 benchmark suites are analysed running on a modern multicore platform, comparing performance, energy consumption and scalability of the spintronic cache system to a CMOS design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-59
Number of pages9
JournalIET Computers and Digital Techniques
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


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