The simulation algorithms developed compute miss ratios for numerous alternative caches with one pass through an address trace, provided all caches have the same block size, and use demand fetching and LRU replacement. One algorithm (forest simulation) simulates direct-mapped caches by relying on inclusion, a property that all larger caches contain a superset of the data in smaller caches. The other algorithm (all associativity simulation) simulates a broader class of direct-mapped and set-associative caches than could previously be studied with a one-pass algorithm, although somewhat less efficiently than forest simulation, since inclusion does not hold.
The analysis of set-associative caches yields two major results. First, constant factors are obtained which relate the miss ratios for set-associative caches to miss ratios for other set-associative caches. Then those results are combined with sample cache implementations to show that above certain cache sizes, direct-mapped caches have lower effective access times than set-associative caches, despite having higher miss ratios.
Finally, instruction buffers and target instruction buffers are examined as organizations for instruction memory on single-chip microprocessors. The analysis focuses closely on implementation considerations, including the interaction between instruction fetches, instruction prefetches and data references, and uses the SPUR RISC design as the case study. Results show the effects of varying numerous design parameters, suggest some superior designs, and demonstrate that instruction buffers will be preferred to target instruction buffers in future RISC microprocessors implemented on single CMOS chips.