National Chiao-Tung University

Department of Electronics Engineering & Institute of Electronics

A Two-Layer Flexible External Memory Management for H.264/AVC Decoder

Student : Chang-Hsuan Chang

Advisor : Dr. Wei Hwang


In the H.264/AVC decoder there are large amount of data need to be fetched to/from the off-chip memory. The latency of accessing data and power consumption in the off-chip memory greatly affect the performance of the whole system. The performance of the off-chip memory is still the bottleneck of the video process due to the limited bandwidth. The real-time requirement in H.264/AVC decoder at level 4 result in the request of a well designed memory sub-system.

In this thesis, we proposed a memory sub-system for the H.264/AVC decoder. This memory sub-system contains a flexible memory controller, SRAM, AHB-bus, and DDR SDRAM. This memory controller inside the memory sub-system not only keeps the correctness of the data transfer between the module and DRAM but is also responsible to improve the performance of the external memory. The proposed memory controller consists of two layers. The first layer is address translation which provide an efficient memory map method. This layer is designed to decrease the number of row-miss status and bank-miss status. By this way the power consumption can be saved. The second layer is external memory interface. Besides generate appropriate commands to the off-chip memory, this layer is used to increase bandwidth utilization and decrease the latency induced by the row-miss status and bank-miss status. This external memory interface is design to control the SDR SDRM and DDR SDRAM. Due to the flexibility of this EMI, the users can rapidly integrate this EMI into their system design with various kind of external memory. The experimental results of a H.264 decoder show that the proposed controller can further reduce access latency by approximately 30% and the memory utilization is accelerated from 42% to 51%.