2013 Volume E96.C Issue 4 Pages 404-412
Power consumption has recently emerged as a first class design constraint in system LSI designs. Specially, leakage power has occupied a large part of the total power consumption. Therefore, reduction of leakage power is indispensable for efficient design of high-performance system LSIs. Since 2006, we have carried out a research project called “Innovative Power Control for Ultra Low-Power and High-Performance System LSIs”, supported by Japan Science and Technology Agency as a CREST research program. One of the major objectives of this project is reducing the leakage power consumption of system LSIs by innovative power control through tight cooperation and co-optimization of circuit technology, architecture, and system software designs. In this project, we focused on power gating as a circuit technique for reducing leakage power. Temporal granularity is one of the most important issue in power gating. Thus, we have developed a series of Geysers as proof-of-concept CPUs which provide several mechanisms of fine-grained run-time power gating. In this paper, we describe their concept and design, and explain why co-optimization of different design layers are important. Then, three kinds of power gating implementations and their evaluation are presented from the view point of power saving and temporal granularity.