Network processors implemented as systems-on-chip with multiple processors and peripherals offer a reliable means of scaling network with high link capacities. As more and more co-processors and peripherals are integrated, the power requirement also dramatically increases. Therefore it is essential to efficiently parallelize the subsystems to maximize the packet processing capacities while maintaining low power consumption. In this paper, we propose a power aware packet processing architecture with chip-multiprocessor (CMP), which consists of a number of processor clusters (or arrays). Each array includes a number of identical processor cores, and processor cores between different arrays have different performance and power consumption. Only one array of processors is active at any time. We devise a simple policy to select a proper array of processors to lower the power consumption while still meeting the QoS requirements. Our simulation results show that the proposed CMP model has an approximately 40% power reduction compared to the CMP without power management, and an 11% power improvement compared to the symmetric CMP approach.
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