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SubjectRe: gcc -O2 vs gcc -Os performance
Date
In article <263740000.1044563891@[10.10.2.4]>,
Martin J. Bligh <mbligh@aracnet.com> wrote:
>>> All done with gcc-2.95.4 (Debian Woody). These machines (16x NUMA-Q) have
>>> 700MHz P3 Xeons with 2Mb L2 cache ... -Os might fare better on celeron
>>> with a puny cache if someone wants to try that out
>> gcc 3.2 is a lot smarter about -Os and it makes a very big size
>> difference according to the numbers the from the ACPI guys.
>>
>> Im not sure testing with a gcc from the last millenium is useful 8)
>
>Still no use.
>/me throws gcc-3.2 in the trash can.
>
>2901299 vmlinux.O2
>2667827 vmlinux.Os

Well, Os is certainly smaller. One thing to look out for is that
microbenchmarks for kernels are usually the _worst_ things to test with
Os.

That's since a large part of the premise of the -Os speed advantage is
that it is better for icache (usually not an issue for microbenchmarks)
and that it is better for load/startup times (generally not a huge issue
for kernels, since the real startup costs of kernels tend to be entirely
elsewhere).

So I suspect -Os tends to be more appropriate for user-mode code, and
especially code with low repeat rates. Possibly the "low repeat rate"
thing ends up being true of certain kernel subsystems too.

Think of it this way: if you win 10% in size, you're likely to map and
load 10% less code pages at run-time. Which is not a big issue for
traditional data-centric loads, but can be a _huge_ deal for things like
GUI programs etc where there is often more code than data.

Linus
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