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SubjectRe: [patch] epoll use a single inode ...
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On Mar 07, 2007, at 20:25:14, Michael K. Edwards wrote:
> On 3/7/07, Linus Torvalds <torvalds@linux-foundation.org> wrote
>> In general, using software prefetching is just a stupid idea, unless
>>
>> - the prefetch really is very strict (ie for a linked list you do
>> exactly the above kinds of things to make sure that you don't try
>> to prefetch the non-existent end entry)
>> AND
>> - the CPU is stupid (in-order in particular).
>>
>> I think Intel even suggests in their optimization manuals to *not*
>> do software prefetching, because hw can usually simply do better
>> without it.
>
> Not the XScale -- it performs quite poorly without prefetch, as
> people who have run ARMv5-optimized binaries on it can testify.
>
> The Intel XScale(r) core prefetch load instruction is a true
> prefetch instruction because the load destination is the data or
> mini-data cache and not a register. Compilers for processors which
> have data caches, but do not support prefetch, sometimes use a load
> instruction to preload the data cache. This technique has the
> disadvantages of using a register to load data and requiring
> additional registers for
> subsequent preloads and thus increasing register pressure. By
> contrast, the prefetch can be used to reduce register pressure
> instead of increasing it.
>
> The prefetch load is a hint instruction and does not guarantee that
> the data will be loaded. Whenever the load would cause a fault or a
> table walk, then the processor will ignore the prefetch
> instruction, the fault or table walk, and continue processing the
> next instruction. This is particularly advantageous in the case
> where a linked list or recursive data structure is terminated by a
> NULL pointer. Prefetching the NULL pointer will not fault program
> flow.

Prefetching is also fairly critical on a Power4 or G5 PowerPC system
as they have a long memory latency; an L2-cache miss can cost 200+
cycles. On such systems the "dcbt" prefetch instruction brings in a
single 128-byte cacheline and has no serializing effects whatsoever,
making it ideal for use in a linked-list-traversal inner loop.

Cheers,
Kyle Moffett

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