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Method for process performance state-transition tables Disclosure Number: IPCOM000008932D
Publication Date: 2002-Jul-24
Document File: 3 page(s) / 92K

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The Prior Art Database


Disclosed is a method for process performance state-transition tables. Benefits include improved functionality and improved performance.

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Method for process performance state-transition tables

Disclosed is a method for process performance state-transition tables. Benefits include improved functionality and improved performance.


              In a conventional processor system, many different techniques for generating the multiple operating clock frequencies are used. For example, the root clock frequency, which might be used for the processor core, may be generated by a phase-locked loop (PLL). Other related frequencies, such as the memory bus frequency, may be derived from the PLL frequency by a clock divisor. Alternatively, the processor core clock frequency may also be generated by dividing the PLL frequency instead of taking it directly from the PLL. Furthermore, different performance costs are associated with changing these various frequencies. For example, changing the core PLL frequency may take a relatively long time because the PLL must synchronize, during which the processor and other subsystems driven by the PLL cannot be active. Alternatively, switching the clock divisor would take comparatively little time (restricting the range of allowable frequencies) and enables all subsystems to remain operational.

              Conventionally, not many systems present a range of operating frequencies. However, as processors become increasingly powerful and complex, the number of states and requirements for power efficiency will increase. For example, some network processors currently enable five core PLL frequencies with two different dividers for other operational frequencies.


              The disclosed method specifies the available states and transitions in a processor system capable of multiple operating frequencies and/or voltages. The firmware of a processor system can present data to the operating system representing the available configurations for a particular hardware instantiation. For example, a system that can operate at multiple processor-clock frequencies could provide a state table correlating different clock frequencies with the power consumption at each frequency. The table could contain values that indicate the available transitions between states (clock frequency configurations). The method includes a technique for specifying the characteristics (for example, latency) of transitions between different table rows (processor frequencies) in a clear and concise representation.

              The disclosed method assigns a group-ID to each row in the processor frequency configuration table. Transitions between rows with the same group-ID correspond to low-latency transitions. They do not require an expensive transition , such as might be caused by a PLL re-synchronization. On the other hand, transitions between rows with different group-IDs do require an expensive  transition. and therefore would incur significant processing delay. This technique is a simple way to represent the transitions between different states without requiring a full table specification that specifies the transition from...