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  Transmeta's Crusoe, HotRod or Performance Hog? 
  May 11, 2001, 06:00am EDT 
 

Caching and Optimization


By: Sander Sassen

Although the Code Morphing software is implemented in ROM, it first gets copied to DRAM at boot up to increase performance, residing in a separate memory space along with the translation cache.

The optimization of the translation process by the Code Morphing software allows for the translation cache to be used much more efficiently, as a result of which the hardware can then execute the optimized translation at full speed. Furthermore, as a part of this optimization, when an application executes Code Morphing 'learns' more about the program and constantly optimizes and speeds up execution.

The Code Morphing software has many ways to gather feedback about a running program, one of which is the 'instrument' translation; during the translation, code is added whose sole purpose is to collect information about the block to be executed. This data is used later to decide when and what to optimize and translate.

A very good example, already mentioned, is knowing how often a piece of x86 code is executed and if often, then optimize for that code, instead of for code used only once or twice, where such an optimization is a waste of time.

However, the Code Morphing software runs off of main memory and part of the processor's performance will be determined by the bandwidth of the memory interface and the memory technology used. Because the data to be processed and Code Morphing software both reside in memory, this has more performance impact than with a regular x86 processor, which only stores data in main memory.



1. Introduction
2. Code Morphing
3. Execution, Decoding, Scheduling
4. Caching and Optimization
5. Power Management
6. Conclusion

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