Optimizations Enabled by a Decoupled Front-End Architecture
"In the pursuit of instruction-level parallelism, significant demands are placed on a processor's instruction delivery mechanism. Delivering the performance necessary to meet future processor execution targets requires that the performance of the instruction delivery mechanism scale with the execution core. Attaining these targets is a challenging task due to I-cache misses, branch mispredictions, and taken branches in the instruction stream. To counter these challenges, we present a fetch architecture that decouples the branch predictor from the instruction fetch unit. A Fetch Target Queue (FTQ) is inserted between the branch predictor and instruction cache. This allows the branch predictor to run far in advance of the address currently being fetched by the cache."