DRAM Cache for GPUs With SCM And High Bandwidth


A new technical paper titled “Bandwidth-Effective DRAM Cache for GPUs with Storage-Class Memory” was published by researchers at POSTECH and Songsil University.


“We propose overcoming the memory capacity limitation of GPUs with high-capacity Storage-Class Memory (SCM) and DRAM cache. By significantly increasing the memory capacity with SCM, the GPU can capture a larger fraction of the memory footprint than HBM for workloads that oversubscribe memory, achieving high speedups. However, the DRAM cache needs to be carefully designed to address the latency and BW limitations of the SCM while minimizing cost overhead and considering GPU’s characteristics. Because the massive number of GPU threads can thrash the DRAM cache, we first propose an SCM-aware DRAM cache bypass policy for GPUs that considers the multi-dimensional characteristics of memory accesses by GPUs with SCM to bypass DRAM for data with low performance utility. In addition, to reduce DRAM cache probes and increase effective DRAM BW with minimal cost, we propose a Configurable Tag Cache (CTC) that repurposes part of the L2 cache to cache DRAM cacheline tags. The L2 capacity used for the CTC can be adjusted by users for adaptability. Furthermore, to minimize DRAM cache probe traffic from CTC misses, our Aggregated Metadata-In-Last-column (AMIL) DRAM cache organization co-locates all DRAM cacheline tags in a single column within a row. The AMIL also retains the full ECC protection, unlike prior DRAM cache’s Tag-And-Data (TAD) organization. Additionally, we propose SCM throttling to curtail power and exploiting SCM’s SLC/MLC modes to adapt to workload’s memory footprint. While our techniques can be used for different DRAM and SCM devices, we focus on a Heterogeneous Memory Stack (HMS) organization that stacks SCM dies on top of DRAM dies for high performance. Compared to HBM, HMS improves performance by up to 12.5x (2.9x overall) and reduces energy by up to 89.3% (48.1% overall). Compared to prior works, we reduce DRAM cache probe and SCM write traffic by 91-93% and 57-75%, respectively.”

Find the technical paper here.  Published March 2024.

Hong, Jeongmin, Sungjun Cho, Geonwoo Park, Wonhyuk Yang, Young-Ho Gong, and Gwangsun Kim. “Bandwidth-Effective DRAM Cache for GPUs with Storage-Class Memory.” arXiv preprint arXiv:2403.09358 (2024).


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