Method and apparatus for a dedicated physically indexed copy of the data cache tag arrays

Posted at 11:00 am on 06/26/2001 by Dr. Rahul Razdan

A data caching system and method includes a data store for caching data from a main memory, a primary tag array for holding tags associated with data cached in the data store, and a duplicate tag array which holds copies of the tags held in the primary tag array. The duplicate tag array is accessible by functions, such as external memory cache probes, such that the primary tag remains available to the processor core. An address translator maps virtual page addresses to physical page address. In order to allow a data caching system which is larger than a page size, a portion of the virtual page address is used to index the tag arrays and data store. However, because of the virtual to physical mapping, the data may reside in any of a number of physical locations. During an internally-generated memory access, the virtual address is used to look up the cache. If there is a miss, other combinations of values are substituted for the virtual bits of the tag array index. For external probes which provide physical addresses to the duplicate tag array, combinations of values are appended to the index portion of the physical address. Tag array lookups can be performed either sequentially, or in parallel (Full Patent Here).

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