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Re: non-contiguous physical memory

To: Yaron Presente <>
Subject: Re: non-contiguous physical memory
From: Ralf Baechle <>
Date: Fri, 25 Jun 2004 01:31:30 +0200
In-reply-to: <>
Original-recipient: rfc822;
References: <>
User-agent: Mutt/1.4.1i
On Thu, Jun 24, 2004 at 03:46:43PM +0300, Yaron Presente wrote:

> I'm running montavista linux (2.4.18_mvl30-malta-mips_fp_le) on a board 
> that has 2 memory banks of physical memory.
> 1. 32MB from physical address 0x00000000
> 2. 16MB from physical address 0x20000000
> Currently I can only access the first bank (by add_memory_region(0, 32 
> << 20, BOOT_MEM_RAM) in prom_init() ).
> I tried the obvious solution of adding another region at 0x20000000 
> (add_memory_region(0x20000000, 16 << 20, BOOT_MEM_RAM))
> but that didn't seem to work. I've also tried to add a BOOT_MEM_RESERVED 
> region in between the regions in order to create a seemingly contiguous 
> memory, with no success.
> My questions are:
> Is it possible to access the second bank as well under MIPS ?
> Is there a way to define a "hole" in the physical memory?
> Do I have to use CONFIG_DISCONTIGMEM ? is it fully supported ?
> Thanks for your help,

Your initial approach was nearly right - you can solve the problem of
holes in the memory map as long as they're small enough by only adding
the available regions with add_memory_region().  Typically uses for
this are small holes due to memory in use by firmware, for example.

Now, in your case the whole isn't small.  In fact, with 480MB it's big ;-)
What Linux will try to do is to allocate the mem_map array for the
entire memory range from 0x0 - 0x21000000, that's 528MB.  mem_map contains
one page per 4k page; each entry is 64 bytes in size for 32-bit kernels
so that makes a total size for mem_map[] of 8.25MB of which just 768kB are
actually being used.

Just to make life a little bit more misserable memory 32-bit kernels can
only use memory above the 512MB boundary as highmem.

CONFIG_DISCONTIGMEM can solve this problem - but Linux/MIPS really doesn't
much an attempt to make that easy to use.  Right now only a single MIPS
system is using CONFIG_DISCONTIGMEM and that system is using it in
combination with CONFIG_NUMA which is quite an additional complication.

With CONFIG_DISCONTIGMEM there will be no more mem_map[] array. Instead
there will be one such array for each memory region which means you'll
loose a bit of performance due to additional complexity but you'll save
all the wasted memory.


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