Write buffer

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A write buffer is a type of data buffer used in certain CPU cache architectures.

In a CPU cache, a write buffer can be used to hold data being written back from the cache to main memory. This is a variation of write-through caching called buffered write-through.

Use of a write buffer in this manner frees the cache to service read requests while the write is taking place. It is especially useful for very slow main memory in that subsequent reads are able to proceed without waiting for long main memory latency. When the write buffer is full (i.e. all buffer entries are occupied), subsequent writes still have to wait until slots are freed. To further mitigate this stall, one optimization called write buffer merge may be implemented. Write buffer merge combines writes that have consecutive destination addresses into one buffer entry. Otherwise, they would occupy separate entries which increases the chance of pipeline stall.

A victim buffer is a type of write buffer that stores dirty evicted lines in write-back caches[note 1] so that they get written back to main memory. Besides reducing pipeline stall by not waiting for dirty lines to write back as a simple write buffer does, a victim buffer may also serves as a temporary backup storage when subsequent cache accesses exhibit locality, requesting those recently evicted lines, which are still in the victim buffer.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Write-through caches don't need write the evicted cache lines as they are written to main memory when the cache is written.