Computer architects have long used simulators to explore microarchitectures and quantitatively analyze design tradeoffs. Though attractive because of their low cost and ease of modification, these software simulators suffer from poor performance. In this paper, we present RAMP Gold, an FPGA-based manycore simulator that outperforms software simulators by orders of magnitude. It models up to 64 in-order issue SPARC V8 cores and
a shared memory hierarchy. We describe the implementation of RAMP Gold in detail and analyze its performance. We then conclude, proposing RAMP Gold’s use in the exploration of several important research problems that currently suffer greatly from the poor performance of software simulators.