Reg file vs. forwarding network

By: Peter (not.delete@this.likely.com), June 23, 2008 7:35 am
Room: Moderated Discussions
> savantu (savantu@email.ro) on 6/23/08 wrote:
> Based on your experience , how would you describe the work needed for a 4 issue OoO multithreaded core like
> Nehalem ?

Huge! ;)

Seriously, its an interesting question, but I'm sure there are possibly others on this forum who could answer better than I. My experience is in a different target market than a Nehalem style processor where we don't have the same performance requirements - although equally, the Nehalem designers won't have quite the same power constraints we have.

With respect to adding multi-threading, it isn't conceptually that difficult with most micro-architectures as it is simply a matter of duplicating or enlarging certain structures (e.g. queues). The control side can range from fairly simple with an alternating thread approach to more complex, but doable with an SMT approach.

The bigger challenge on a processor like Nehalem will be simply pulling the entire chip together at the timing/power target. I've got a lot of respect for what those guys do, but ultimately unless you are one of a handful of senior micro-architects/circuit designers doing unit/technical lead roles you are probably going to spend two or three years of your life tweaking the hell out of a couple of blocks, validating a unit or fixing EDA tool flows do get the implementation/integration working.

That isn't to say that the end result is not pretty damn impressive though!
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