Power consumption in computing today has lead the industry towards energy efficient computing. As transistor technology shrinks, new techniques have to be developed to keep leakage current, the dominant portion of overall power consumption, to a minimum. Due to the large amount of transistors devoted to the cache hierarchy, the cache provides an excellent avenue to dramatically reduce power usage. The inherent danger with techniques that save power can negatively effect the primary reason for the inclusion of the cache, performance. This thesis work proposes a modification to the cache hierarchy that dramatically saves power with only a slight reduction in performance. By taking advantage of the overwhelming preference of memory accesses to the most recently used blocks, these blocks are placed into a small, fast access A partition. The rest of the cache is put into a drowsy mode, a state preserving technique that reduces leakage power within the remaining portion of the cache. This design was implemented within a private, second level cache that achieved an average of almost 20% dynamic energy savings and an average of nearly 45% leakage energy savings. These savings were attained while incurring an average performance penalty of only 2%.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Cache memory; High performance processors--Energy consumption; Computers--Energy consumption

Publication Date


Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

Computer Engineering (KGCOE)


Alarcon, Sonia


Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works. Physical copy available through RIT's The Wallace Library at: TK7895.M4 F48 2012


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