[PATCH v2] ARM: l2x0: make background cache ops optional for clean and flush range

Rob Herring robherring2 at gmail.com
Mon Sep 17 17:36:20 EDT 2012

On 09/17/2012 03:45 PM, Catalin Marinas wrote:
> On 17 September 2012 21:29, Rob Herring <robherring2 at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On 09/17/2012 02:47 PM, Russell King - ARM Linux wrote:
>>> On Mon, Sep 17, 2012 at 08:59:58AM -0500, Rob Herring wrote:
>>>> From: Rob Herring <rob.herring at calxeda.com>
>>>> All but background ops are atomic on the pl310, so a spinlock is not
>>>> needed for a cache sync if background operations are not used. Using
>>>> background ops was an optimization for flushing large buffers, but that's
>>>> not needed for platforms where i/o is coherent and/or that have a larger
>>>> cache size than likely to flush at once. The cache sync spinlock is
>>>> taken on every readl/writel and can be a bottleneck for code paths with
>>>> register accesses.
>>>> The default behaviour is unchanged. Platforms can enable using atomic
>>>> cache ops only by adding "arm,use-atomic-ops" to pl310 device-tree
>>>> node.
>>>> It is assumed that remaining background ops are only used in non-SMP
>>>> code paths.
>>> (a) you're not describing hardware, you're describing a feature of the
>>>     Linux kernel's implementation - no, you're describing a configuration
>>>     feature of the kernel.  This should not be in DT.
>>> (b) you're disabling the optimization to avoid doing a lengthy line-by-line
>>>     cache operation when the size is larger than the cache size, and trading
>>>     it for possibly slightly quicker accesses.
>>> The problem I have with this is it's likely that you've only looked at
>>> "oh, this makes IO accesses faster" and not the total picture wrt the
>>> effect on time taken by the DMA API.
>> No, I'm looking at the system performance and profiling led me here. If
>> i/o is coherent, then L2 cache operations are never called by the DMA
>> mapping API. So we have a optimization using background ops that I will
>> never hit and that optimization gives me a negative performance impact.
>> I could easily "fix" this in the xgmac driver by using __raw_writel or
>> writel_relaxed, but that would break non-coherent operation which does
>> need the L2 cache barriers.
> I haven't looked at the xgmac driver but you can use the relaxed
> accessors entirely in this file with explicit mb() where the barrier
> is needed. It may give you some improvement, though you still issue an
> L2 sync as part of mb(). The only issue is that the relaxed accessors
> are not defined on all architectures, nor the semantics are clear
> between those that define it.

Right, as I said I could do that, but it leaves all the issues you
mention and would reduce compile coverage (restricting it to ARM).

Also, I don't think the driver should be aware if it is coherent or not.
It would have to be to make the barriers conditional. The number of
barriers is already at the minimum I need, so the relaxed variants don't
help unless I break non-coherent mode.

> BTW, if you use the streaming DMA API, the barrier should be (or can
> be added) part of the API implementation. For the coherent API,
> ideally we should implement the ordering between I/O and DMA
> operations as part of the API but there isn't such functionality
> provided (nor driver writers willing to do this explicitly), so we
> overload the mb() and I/O accessors.

It's not really a barrier with DMA API that is needed. It is the buffer
descriptor ring setup and register write to go poll the descriptor ring
that need ordering. Within the descriptor ring setup, I need to ensure
the 1st descriptor is marked ready after all the other descriptors that
follow it in case the DMA is active. Then I need an additional barrier
to ensure the 1st descriptor is in memory when I set the DMA poll bit in
the xgmac register.


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