High density memory is becoming more important as many execution streams are consolidated onto single chip many-core processors. DRAM is ubiquitous as a main memory technology, but while DRAM's per-chip density and frequency continue to scale, the time required to refresh its dynamic cells has grown at an alarming rate. This paper shows how currently-employed methods to schedule refresh operations are ineffective in mitigating the significant performance degradation caused by longer refresh times. Current approaches are deficient - they do not effectively exploit the flexibility of DRAMs to postpone refresh operations. This work proposes dynamically reconfigurable predictive mechanisms that exploit the full dynamic range allowed in the JEDEC DDRx SDRAM specifications. The proposed mechanisms are shown to mitigate much of the penalties seen with dense DRAM devices. We refer to the overall scheme as Elastic Refresh, in that the refresh policy is stretched to fit the currently executing workload, such that the maximum benefit of the DRAM flexibility is realized. We extend the GEMS on SIMICS tool-set to include Elastic Refresh. Simulations show the proposed solution provides a ∼10% average performance improvement over existing techniques across the entire SPEC CPU suite, and up to a 41% improvement for certain workloads. © 2010 IEEE.