Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)

12-2009

Type of Culminating Activity

Thesis

Degree Title

Master of Science in Electrical Engineering

Department

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Major Advisor

R. Jake Baker Ph.D.

Abstract

The bandwidth and power consumption of dynamic random access memory, used as the main memory of a computer system, impacts the computer’s execution rate even with the existence of a memory hierarchy. DRAM manufacturers focus on density increases due to the innate price per bit decline of main memory while processor manufacturers continually focus on boosting performance by increasing the number of instructions completed per second. This leads to a performance gap between the microprocessor and DRAM.

Proximity communication promises to increase the I/O density of DRAM products while reducing the power consumption of the main memory system. This thesis develops and discusses the design of a memory system employing 4 Gb DRAM chips with a 64-bit wide communication bus using proximity communication. Technological roadblocks are analyzed and novel solutions are proposed. The proposed 4 Gb DRAM architecture can reduce the power consumption of a main memory system by 50% while increasing the bandwidth by 100%. The 4 Gb chip developed in this thesis measures 68.88 mm2 and has an array efficiency of 59.9%. These estimates are comparable to the 2012 International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors’ estimates of 74 mm2 and 56%, respectfully.

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