User Guide


L2 Hit Bound

Metric Description

The L2 is the last and longest-latency level in the memory hierarchy before the main memory (DRAM) or MCDRAM. While L2 hits are serviced much more quickly than hits in DRAM or MCDRAM, they can still incur a significant performance penalty. This metric also includes coherence penalties for shared data. The L2 Hit Bound metric shows a ratio of cycles spent handling L2 hits to all cycles. The cycles spent handling L2 hits are calculated as L2 CACHE HIT COST * L2 CACHE HIT COUNT where L2 CACHE HIT COST is a constant measured as typical L2 access latency in cycles.

Possible Issues

A significant proportion of cycles is being spent on data fetches that miss the L1 but hit the L2. This metric includes coherence penalties for shared data.


1. If contested accesses or data sharing are indicated as likely issues, address them first. Otherwise, consider the performance tuning applicable to an L2-missing workload: reduce the data working set size, improve data access locality, consider blocking or partitioning your working set so that it fits into the L1, or better exploit hardware prefetchers.
2. Consider using software prefetchers, but note that they can interfere with normal loads, potentially increasing latency, as well as increase pressure on the memory system.

Product and Performance Information


Intel's compilers may or may not optimize to the same degree for non-Intel microprocessors for optimizations that are not unique to Intel microprocessors. These optimizations include SSE2, SSE3, and SSSE3 instruction sets and other optimizations. Intel does not guarantee the availability, functionality, or effectiveness of any optimization on microprocessors not manufactured by Intel. Microprocessor-dependent optimizations in this product are intended for use with Intel microprocessors. Certain optimizations not specific to Intel microarchitecture are reserved for Intel microprocessors. Please refer to the applicable product User and Reference Guides for more information regarding the specific instruction sets covered by this notice.

Notice revision #20110804