Effective Management of DRAM Bandwidth in Multicore Processors

Nauman Rafique,  Won-Taek Lim,  Mithuna Thottethodi
Purdue University


Technology trends are driving for an increasing number of cores on chip. All these cores inherently share the DRAM bandwidth. The on-chip cache resources are limited and in many situations, cannot hold the working set of the threads running on all these cores. This situation makes DRAM bandwidth a critical shared resource. Existing DRAM bandwidth management schemes provide support for enforcing bandwidth shares but have problems like starvation, complexity, and unpredictable DRAM access latency.

In this paper, we propose a DRAM bandwidth management scheme with two key features. First, the scheme avoids unexpected long latencies or starvation of memory requests. It also allows OS to select the right combination of performance and strength of bandwidth share enforcement. Second, it provides a feedback-driven policy that adaptively tunes the bandwidth shares to achieve desired average latencies for memory accesses. This feature is useful under high contention and can be used to provide performance level support for critical applications or to support service level agreements for enterprise computing data centers.