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SubjectRe: Locking comment on shrink_caches()

On Wed, 26 Sep 2001, Alan Cox wrote:
> >
> > Your Athlons may handle exclusive cache line acquisition more
> > efficiently (due to memory subsystem performance) but it still
> > does cost something.
>
> On an exclusive line on Athlon a lock cycle is near enough free, its
> just an ordering constraint. Since the line is in E state no other bus
> master can hold a copy in cache so the atomicity is there. Ditto for newer
> Intel processors

You misunderstood the problem, I think: when the line moves from one CPU
to the other (the exclusive state moves along with it), that is
_expensive_.

Even when you have a backside bus (or cache pushout content snooping) to
allow the cacheline to move directly from one CPU to the other without
having to go through memory, that's a really expensive thing to do.

So re-aquring the lock on the same CPU is pretty much free (18 cycles for
Intel, if I remember correctly, and that's _entirely_ due to the pipeline
flush to ensure in-order execution around it).

[ Oh, just for interest I checked my P4, which has a much longer pipeline:
the cost of an exclusive locked access is a whopping 104 cycles. But we
already knew that the first-generation P4 does badly on many things.

Just reading the cycle counter is apparently around 80 cycles on a P4,
it's 32 cycles on a PIII. Looks like that also stalls the pipeline or
something. But cpuid is _really_ horrible. Test out the attached
program.

PIII:
nothing: 32 cycles
locked add: 50 cycles
cpuid: 170 cycles

P4:
nothing: 80 cycles
locked add: 184 cycles
cpuid: 652 cycles

Remember: these are for the already-exclusive-cache cases. ]

What are the athlon numbers?

Linus
#define rdtsc(low) \
__asm__ __volatile__("rdtsc" : "=a" (low) : : "edx")

#define TIME(x,y) \
min = 100000; \
for (i = 0; i < 1000; i++) { \
unsigned long start,end; \
rdtsc(start); \
x; \
rdtsc(end); \
end -= start; \
if (end < min) \
min = end; \
} \
printf(y ": %d cycles\n", min);

#define LOCK asm volatile("lock ; addl $0,0(%esp)")
#define CPUID asm volatile("cpuid": : :"ax", "dx", "cx", "bx")

int main()
{
unsigned long min;
int i;

TIME(/* */, "nothing");
TIME(LOCK, "locked add");
TIME(CPUID, "cpuid");
}
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