Conference paper

Performance modeling for early analysis of multi-core systems

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Performance analysis of microprocessors is a critical step in defining the microarchitecture, prior to register-transfer-level (RTL) design. In complex chip multiprocessor systems, including multiple cores, caches and busses, this problem is compounded by complex performance interactions between cores, caches and interconnections, as well as by tight interdependencies between performance, power and physical characteristics of the design (i.e., floorplan). Although there are many point tools for the analysis of performance, or power, or floorplan of complex systems-on-chip (SoCs), there are surprisingly few works on an integrated tool that is capable of analyzing these various system characteristics simultaneously and allow the user to explore different design configurations and their effect on performance, power, size and thermal aspects. This paper describes an integrated tool for early analysis of performance, power, physical and thermal characteristics of multi-core systems. It includes cycle-accurate, transaction-level SystemC-based performance models of POWER processors and system components (i.e., caches, buses). Power models, for power computation, physical models for floorplanning and packaging models for thermal analysis are also included. The tool allows the user to build different systems by selecting components from a library and connecting them together in a visual environment. Using these models, users can simulate and dynamically analyze the performance, power and thermal aspects of multi-core systems. Copyright 2007 ACM.