An efficient STT-RAM-based register file in GPU architectures

TitleAn efficient STT-RAM-based register file in GPU architectures
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsX Liu, M Mao, X Bi, H Li, and Y Chen
Conference Name20th Asia and South Pacific Design Automation Conference, Asp Dac 2015
Date Published03/2015

Modern GPGPUs employ a large register file (RF) to efficiently process heavily parallel threads in single instruction multiple thread (SIMT) fashion. The up-scaling of RF capacity, however, is greatly constrained by large cell area and high leakage power consumption of SRAM implementation. In this work, we propose a novel GPU RF design based on the emerging multi-level cell (MLC) spin-transfer torque RAM (STT-RAM) technology. Compared to SRAM, MLC STT-RAM (or MLC-STT) has much smaller cell area and almost zero standby power due to its non-volatility. Moreover, by leveraging the asymmetric performance of the soft and the hard bits of a MLC-STT cell, we propose a remapping strategy to perform a flexible tradeoff between the access time and the capacity of the RF based on run-time access patterns. A novel rescheduling scheme is also developed to minimize the waiting time of the issued warps to access register banks. Experimental results over ISPASS2009 and CUDA benchmarks show that on average, our proposed MLC-STT RF can achieve 3.28% performance improvement, 9.48% energy reduction, and 38.9% energy efficiency enhancement compared to conventional SRAM-based design.