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SubjectRe: mask/unmasking while servicing MSI(-X) unnecessary?
On Wed, 29 Nov 2006 17:46:07 -0500
Loic Prylli <> wrote:

> While looking into using MSI-X for our myri10ge driver, we have seen
> that the msi(x) code (driver/pci/msi.c) masks the MSI(-X) vector while
> servicing an interrupt. We are not sure why this masking is needed (for
> instance no such thing is done for "edge IOAPIC" interrupts). There
> seems to be already several mechanisms each individually protecting
> against "loosing an interrupt" without masking:
> - the "x86" architecture is able to queue 2 interrupt messages. That
> guarantees an interrupt handler will always start after the last MSI
> received (even in the case of a big burst of MSI messages).
> - Even if there wasn't that interrupt queuing, ack_APIC_irq() could be
> moved in the ack() method. Then things would work without masking even
> on a hypothetical platform where a new interrupt is completely ignored
> (with no IRR-like register) while servicing the same vector (anyway
> since this "msi" code is already tied to "x86" architecture
> specificities, that hypothetical platform might not be relevant).
> - Almost every driver/device have their own way of acknowledging
> interrupts anyway, which also by itself makes the masking/unmasking
> unnecessary.
> - The masking by itself is racy unless the driver interrupt handler
> starts by making sure the masking request has reached the device with
> some kind of MMIO-read. Such a MMIO-read is normally the kind of costly
> requests you are happy to get rid of in the MSI model.
> So if it is not useful, it might be better to avoid that systematic
> mask/unmask pair. This masking has a small but measurable performance
> impact for our device/driver combo.
> Would you agree to suppress that masking (sample patch following)? Or
> otherwise, is there is a possibility of making it optional on a
> per-device basis.

Your patch appears to be against the prehistoric 2.6.18 kernel. MSI
got changed a lot - please test 2.6.19 and see if that needs fixing.
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