Design of a Refresh-Controller for GC-eDRAM Based FIFOs

Tzachi Noy, Adam Teman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


First-in first-out (FIFO) queues are ubiquitous building blocks in modern system-on-chips. Big FIFOs are often realized as static random access memories (SRAMs), and in many cases account for a significant portion of the area and power consumption of integrated circuits (ICs). Gain-cell embedded DRAM (GC-eDRAM) technology is an embedded memory alternative to the pervasive SRAM technology in ICs. It consumes less silicon area and less power than SRAM, but has the drawback of access blockage caused by its periodic data refreshing. In this paper we leverage the unique access patterns implied by the FIFO scheme to design a FIFO realized with GC-eDRAM. We show that such a FIFO is functionally indistinguishable from a FIFO realized with SRAM. The proposed FIFO has no access blockage time due to refresh, and no data integrity issues, and so can be used as an out-of-the-box replacement for FIFOs in existing and future designs, while providing as much as a 2× reduction in both area and power as compared to SRAM.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9108393
Pages (from-to)4804-4817
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems I: Regular Papers
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Manuscript received December 24, 2019; revised March 31, 2020; accepted May 25, 2020. Date of publication June 4, 2020; date of current version December 1, 2020. This work was supported in part by the Kamin Program of the Israel Innovation Authority under Project 61907, and in part by the Israel Science Foundation under Grant 996/18. This article was recommended by Associate Editor I. Kale. (Corresponding author: Tzachi Noy.) The authors are with the Emerging Nanoscaled Integrated Circuits and Systems (EnICS) Labs, Faculty of Engineering, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan 5290002, Israel (e-mail:;

Publisher Copyright:
© 2004-2012 IEEE.


  • First-in first-out (FIFO)
  • embedded dynamic random access memory (eDRAM)
  • gain-cells (GCs)
  • low power
  • memory availability
  • retention time


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