Memory Module

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Memory Module


Figure 10: A NUMAchine Memory Module.

A block diagram of a NUMAchine memory module appears in Figure 10. Data and commands enter and leave the memory module through FIFOs, in a similar manner as described above for a processor module. The main control circuitry in the memory module is called the Master Controller, which controls reading and writing to the FIFOs (on the side opposite from the bus) and which controls the other functional blocks in the memory module. The DRAM block contains up to 2 GBytes of memory and a DRAM controller; the memory is split into two banks and is interleaved. The DRAM controller supports accesses by cache lines, and also allows access to individual bytes, words, etc.

The Hardware Cache Coherence block maintains the cache coherence directories in SRAM. Cache Coherence actions take place in parallel with DRAM activity and are synchronized (via the Master Controller) whenever necessary. The cache coherence block implements all of the coherence actions and state transitions for cache-line status bits needed for the NUMAchine cache coherence protocol, as described in Section 2.3.

The Special Functions and Interrupts block provides operations in addition to normal memory access commands. Examples of special functions are block transfers of data from DRAM, kill operations for a range of cache lines, writes directly to SRAM (which allows system software to bypass the hardware cache coherence actions), etc. This block also contains circuitry for forming interrupt packets, so that the memory module can send an interrupt to a processor, either because of an error condition, or to indicate completion of a special function.

Stephen D. Brown
Wed Jun 28 18:34:27 EDT 1995