On Wed, 30 Jan 2002, Jason Gunthorpe wrote:
> I was under the impression that the mb() functions existed to maintain
> order of memory access and were not defined as flushes per say - so is
> the time delay a concern (perhaps sticking a sync before ERET is
Well, other architectures seem to define the macros such that wmb() is a
pure ordering barrier (to assure strong ordering between writes) and rmb()
is a flush (since reads are synchronous by their nature this implies all
other transactions have to be finished before).
Putting a "sync" before "eret" certainly doesn't work. The case I've
identified is mask_and_ack() in an interrupt handler. It masks an active
IRQ line in an external controller so that handle_IRQ_event() can unmask
interrupts in the CPU (this implies mask_and_ack() is synchronous). But
due to the current lack of proper synchronization, the write isn't
executed until after the __sti() there. As a result for almost every IRQ
routed through the external controler there is a spurious one signalled
shortly afterwards. There is still a long path from here to an "eret".
> I spent some time talking with the Sandcraft people about memory barrier
> issues, and it turns out that at least on the SR71000 (and in most cases
> the RM7K) the order of SysAD transactions will always match the order of
> the instruction stream, but all writes are posted and all reads are split
> - that is the CPU can execute two back to back uncached loads and several
> back to back uncached stores without stalling the pipeline, or getting the
> IO's out of order. Adding sync's and uncached loads only slows things down
> for these chips.
Ok, what about assuring a value written to an I/O memory resource has
actually been commited? That's what rmb() is for. Since the CPU is
strongly-orderes wmb() (a "sync") should be indistinguishable from a
> I understand this is because the CPUs have a single load/store unit and do
> not do out of order execution. Many older/embedded MIPS designs probably
> have a similar configuration, they could likely also run with out the
Putting a wmb() or not should be the matter of requirements of specific
drivers. Wasting a "nop" (effectively) is surely a justifiable price for
> So - could you add something like CONFIG_IN_ORDER_IO which would nullify
> the syncs for these processors?
Hmm, the option seems to exist already, namely CONFIG_NONCOHERENT_IO, but
is it really worth making the third variation to save a single "nop",
especially as barriers are relatively rare? I'll do it, if it is.
> BTW, does anyone know what CONFIG_WB is ment to mean? The CPU has a write
> buffer that does not preserve order?
Certain DECstation models have a write-back buffer that needs to be
handled explicitly. For example rmb() is "1: bc0f 1b" for the R3220 WB
chip. Wmb() is null, certainly, as the buffer is strongly-ordered. See
arch/mips/dec/wbflush.c for details.
+ Maciej W. Rozycki, Technical University of Gdansk, Poland +
+ e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, PGP key available +