Reducing peak power with a table-driven adaptive processor core

Vasileios Kontorinis, Amirali Shayan, Rakesh Kumar, Dean M. Tullsen

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


The increasing power dissipation of current processors and processor cores constrains design options, increases packaging and cooling costs, increases power delivery costs, and decreases reliability. Much research has been focused on decreasing average power dissipation, which most directly addresses cooling costs and reliability. However, much less has been done to decrease peak power, which most directly impacts the processor design, packaging, and power delivery. This research proposes a new architecture which provides a significant decrease in peak power with limited performance loss. It does this through the use of a highly adaptive processor. Many components of the processor can be configured at different levels, but because they are centrally controlled, the architecture can guarantee that they are never all configured maximally at the same time. This paper describes this adaptive processor and explores mechanisms for transitioning between allowed configurations to maximize performance within a peak power constraint. Such an architecture can cut peak power by 25% with less than 5% performance loss; among other advantages, this frees 5.3% of total core area used for decoupling capacitors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-200
Number of pages12
JournalProceedings of the Annual International Symposium on Microarchitecture, MICRO
StatePublished - 2009
Event42nd Annual IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Microarchitecture, Micro-42 - New York, NY, United States
Duration: Dec 12 2009Dec 16 2009


  • Adaptive architectures
  • Decoupling capacitance
  • Peak power
  • Resource resizing
  • Voltage variation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hardware and Architecture


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