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Conquering Memory Bandwidth Challenges in High-Performance SoCs

Authored on: May 26, 2009

Technical Paper

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High end System-on-Chip (SoC) architectures consist of tens of processing engines. In SoCs targeted at high performance computing such as HDTV chips, the communication bandwidth is dominated by accesses to the off-chip DRAM. Limited available bandwidth at the DRAM memory continues to be one of the most important constraints driving the design of these SoCs. Newer DRAM memories such as DDR-3 impose a minimum access granularity that can lead to memory wastage when configured to attain the bandwidth requirements of the application. In this paper, we introduce and highlight multi-channel DRAM memories in high-performance SoCs as a solution for the memory bandwidth problem, and present our communications architecture optimized for the same. We will address deadlock scenarios associated with multi-channel memories and provide mechanisms to avoid them. We compare our architecture with an industrial interconnect by experimenting with representative high definition digital TV applications.

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