South African Computer Journal no. 25 August 2000, pp 68-73

Longer version: Technical Report TR-Wits-CS-1999-3 May 1999

The RAMpage memory hierarchy is an alternative to the traditional division between cache and main memory: main memory is moved up a level and DRAM is used as a paging device. As the CPU-DRAM speed gap grows, it is expected that the RAMpage approach should become more viable. Results in this paper show that RAMpage scales better than a standard second-level cache, because the number of DRAM references is lower. Further, RAMpage allows the possibility of taking a context switch on a miss, which is shown to further improve scalability. The paper also suggests that memory wall work ought to include the TLB, which can represent a significant fraction of execution time. With context switches on misses, the speed improvement at an 8 GHz instruction issue rate is 62% over a standard 2-level cache hierarchy.

(PDF 63K)