Voltage Noise in Production Processors

7 years 10 months ago
Voltage Noise in Production Processors
Abstract—Parameter variations have become a dominant challenge in microprocessor design. Voltage variation is especially daunting because it happens so rapidly. We measure and characterize voltage variation in a running Intel R￿ CoreTM 2 Duo processor. By sensing on-die voltage as the processor runs singlethreaded, multi-threaded, and multi-program workloads, we determine the average supply voltage swing of the processor to be only 4%, far from the processor’s 14% worst-case operating voltage margin. While such large margins guarantee correctness, they penalize performance and power efficiency. We investigate and quantify the benefits of designing a processor for typical-case (rather than worst-case) voltage swings, assuming that a fail-safe mechanism protects it from infrequently occurring large voltage fluctuations. With today’s processors, such resilient designs could yield 15% to 20% performance improvements. But we also show that in future systems, these gains could be ...
Vijay Janapa Reddi, Svilen Kanev, Wonyoung Kim, Si
Added 21 Aug 2011
Updated 21 Aug 2011
Type Journal
Year 2011
Authors Vijay Janapa Reddi, Svilen Kanev, Wonyoung Kim, Simone Campanoni, Michael D. Smith, Gu-Yeon Wei, David Brooks
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