A Preliminary Study on System-level Impact of Persistent Main Memory

Taciano Perez1,  Ney Laert Vilar Calazans2,  Cesar A. F. De Rose2
1Hewlett Packard, 2PUCRS


For almost 30 years, computer memory systems have been essentially the same: volatile, high speed memory technologies like SRAM and DRAM used for cache and main memory; magnetic disks for high-end data storage; and persistent, low speed flash memory for storage with low capacity/low energy consumption requirements such as embedded/mobile devices. Today we watch the emergence of new non-volatile memory (NVM) technologies that promise to radically change the landscape of memory systems. In this work we assess system-level latency and energy impacts of a computer architecture with persistent main memory using PCRAM and Memristor. Our experimental results support the feasibility of employing emerging non-volatile memory technologies as persistent main memory, indicating that performance penalties should be mild, and energy improvements should be significant, up to 45.5% less when using PCRAM and 72.4% less when using Memristor.