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Game Programming Gems 8 by Adam Lake

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Chapter 4.4. Game Optimization through the Lens of Memory and Data Access

Steve Rabin, Nintendo of America Inc.

As modern processors have become faster and faster, memory access has failed to keep pace. This is such a pressing issue on current console hardware that experts advise developers to treat memory as if it were as slow as hard drive access [Isensee06]. As a result of this vast disparity between CPU and memory speed, a great deal of horsepower goes to waste as CPUs wait for data to work on. Thus, a key aspect to optimizing games is keeping the CPU well fed with data.

But isn’t the cache supposed to alleviate this problem? While the cache is indispensible to any complex computer architecture, it isn’t a panacea. To its ...

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