We show by simulating the execution of SPEC 95 benchmarks on a detailed register–level, cycle by cycle simulator for a superscalar CPU that about half of the bytes of operands flowing on the datapath, particularly the leading bytes, are all zeros. Furthermore, a significant number of the bits within the non–zero part of the data flowing on the various paths within the processor do not change from their prior value. These two facts, attesting to the lack of a high level of entropy in the data streams, can be exploited to reduce power dissipation within a typical superscalar datapath. Power savings are achieved within all explicit and implicit storage components such as caches, register files, instruction dispatch buffers, re–order buffers, as well as interconnections such as buses and direct links. Relevant circuit components for encoding zero bytes within storage components and interconnections and avoiding the driving of bit lines that do not change in value are also presented. Preliminary results showing power savings in representative datpath components are quite encouraging. 1
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