In realizing a nonvolatile microcontroller unit (MCU) for sensor nodes in Internet-of-Things (IoT) applications, it is important to solve the datatransfer bottleneck between the central processing unit (CPU) and the nonvolatile memory constituting the MCU. As one circuit-oriented approach to solving this problem, we propose a memory access minimization technique for magnetoresistive-random-access-memory (MRAM)-embedded nonvolatile MCUs. In addition to multiplexing and prefetching of memory access, the proposed technique realizes efficient instruction fetch by eliminating redundant memory access while considering the code length of the instruction to be fetched and the transition of the memory address to be accessed. As a result, the performance of the MCU can be improved while relaxing the performance requirement for the embedded MRAM, and compact and low-power implementation can be performed as compared with the conventional cache-based one. Through the evaluation using a system consisting of a general purpose 32-bit CPU and embedded MRAM, it is demonstrated that the proposed technique increases the peak efficiency of the system up to 3.71 times, while a 2.29-fold area reduction is achieved compared with the cache-based one.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)