Air cooling limits have been a major design challenge in recent years for integrated circuits. Multi-core exacerbates thermal challenges because power scales with the number of cores, but also creates new opportunities for temperature-aware design, because multi-core designs offer more design parameters than single-core designs. This paper investigates the relationship between core size and on-chip hot spot temperature and shows that with the same power density, smaller cores are cooler than larger cores due to a spatial low-pass filtering effect of temperature. This phenomenon suggests that designs exploiting low-pass filtering can dissipate more power within the same cooling budget than contemporary designs.
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