Report Number: CSL-TR-95-683
Institution: Stanford University, Computer Systems Laboratory
Title: A Comparison of Hardware Prefetching Techniques For
Author: Z ucker, Daniel F.
Author: Flynn, Michael J.
Author: Lee, Ruby B.
Date: December 1995
Abstract: Data prefetching is a well known technique for improving
cache performance. While several studies have examined
prefetch strategies for scientific and commercial
applications, no published work has studied the special
memory requirements of multimedia applications. This paper
presents data for three types of hardware prefetching
schemes: stream buffers, stride prediction tables, and a
hybrid combination of the two, the stream cache. Use of the
stride prediction table is shown to eliminate up to 90% of
the misses that would otherwise be incurred in a moderate or
large sized cache with no prefetching hardware. The stream
cache, proposed for the first time in this paper, has the
potential to cut execution times by more than half by the
addition of a relatively small amount of additional hardware.