L1/L2/L3 latency stats@2012 processor #Martin

I said “1000 times” when a GS interviewer asked for an estimate of relative latency of main memory vs register. He said that’s about right.

Numbers below were taken from the CPU Cache Flushing Fallacy blog post by Martin Thompson, which indicates that for a particular 2012-era Intel processor, the following was observed:

  • register access = single cycle or 4 instructions per cycle
  • L1 latency = 3 cycles (3 x register)
  • L2 latency = 12 cycles (4 x L1, 48 x register)
  • L3 latency = up to 38 cycles (3 x L2, 12 x L1, 144 x register)
  • MM Latency= very roughly 200 cycles  (5 x L3, 15 x L2, 60 x L1, 720 x register) = average 65 ns on a 3 GHz CPU

Diagram is more simplified than the text, but there are many fine prints.

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