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SubjectRe: [Bug 350] New: i386 context switch very slow compared to 2.4 due to wrmsr (performance)
Date
In article <20030212042143.GB9273@bjl1.jlokier.co.uk>,
Jamie Lokier <jamie@shareable.org> wrote:
>Dave Jones wrote:
>> I feel I'm missing something obvious here, but is this part the
>> low-hanging fruit that it seems ?
>
>You have eliminated one MSR write very cleanly, although there are
>still a few unnecessary conditionals when compared with grabbing a
>whole branch of the fruit tree, as it were.
>
>That leaves the other MSR write, which is also unnecessary.

No, the other one _is_ necessary. I did timings, and having it in the
context switch path made system calls clearly faster on a P4 (as
compared to my original trampoline approach).

It may be only two instructions difference ("movl xx,%esp ; jmp common")
in the system call path, but it was much more than two cycles. I don't
know why, but I assume the system call causes a total pipeline flush,
and then the immediate jmp basically means that the P4 has a hard time
getting the pipe restarted.

This might be fixable by moving more (all?) of the kernel-side fast
system call code into the per-cpu trampoline page, so that you wouldn't
have the immediate jump. Somebody needs to try it and time it, otherwise
the wrmsr stays in the context switch.

I want fast system calls. Most people don't see it yet (because you need
a glibc that takes advantage of it), but those fast system calls are
more than enough to make up for some scheduling overhead.

Linus
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