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Re: > 1GB on alpha. Patch to 1TB?

>>> Bob McElrath said:
> I (the original poster) don't know if a scatter-gather solution is required
> (it is supported by alpha hardware, I don't know about others).  It may be
> possible to do it without scatter-gather support in hardware.

On Alpha, a scatter-gather solution is the *only* way to allow all devices
direct access to all of memory. Without it, one is forced to employ bounce

> On alpha scatter-gather is simply an address translation scheme that allows
> small granularity (8kb).  I don't know how much kernel support beyond
> bus_alloc/virt_to_bus/bus_dealloc would be required to implement bounce
> buffers using the scatter-gather mappings.  Perhaps someone who understands
> bounce buffers would care to comment?  (I'm still not sure what they are... )

Bounce buffers are buffers in memory at locations that can be accessed
directly by devices, in a system which has additional memory which CANNOT be
directly accessed by those devices because of their addressing limitations.
This has been most commonly encountered with "true" ISA devices, which have
a memory address limitation of 16Mb (24 bits). In a machine which has more
than 16Mb of memory, a device driver could allocate a buffer in the low 16Mb
of the address space, do the device DMA to that buffer, and then copy the
data out of that buffer to a memory location above 16Mb, hence the name
"bounce buffer".

And one would not use SG mapping to implement bounce buffers; SG mapping
eliminates the need for bounce buffers.

> I wonder if it would be possible to take a poll of hardware owners to
> determine which chipsets support scatter-gather.  I don't know if this is
> part of the PCI spec, or a hack implemented by Digital and Sun.

It is NOT part of the PCI spec; it is a platform specific feature, implemented
(differently) on the ALPHA and SPARC, and probably others.

> Will Merced chipsets support scatter-gather?

No idea, but this would prolly be covered by an NDA at this time, anyway... ;-}

> At any rate, a generic
> bus_alloc/bus_dealloc should be able to hide whatever memory->bus remapping
> the hardware supports...whether scatter-gather exists on all chipsets or
> not.

If correctly designed.

> Most importantly: if bounce buffers are required to access memory >1GB from
> PCI, can it be done with a simple bus_alloc/virt_to_bus/bus_dealloc?  Or
> must we implement a more complex solution that can handle both cases?

Well, let examine it...

Case 1: bus_alloc where direct access is possible without SG mapping, is
        simply the equivalent of virt_to_bus now. bus_dealloc is a no-op.

Case 2: bus_alloc where SG mapping must be used to directly access memory,
        returns the bus address (in the SG map) for the desired destination.
        bus_dealloc will release the SG mapping resources used.

Case 3: bus_alloc where bounce buffers are required, simply returns the
        bus address of an allocated bounce buffer. bus_dealloc would copy
        the bounce buffer to the desired destination, and free the bounce

A bit overly simplistic, but did I miss/overlook anything? Does this seem


  American Non Sequitur Society: we don't make sense, but we do like pizza...

Jay A Estabrook                            Alpha Motherboards - LINUX Project
Compaq Computer Corporation                (508) 841-3241 or (DTN) 237-3241
334 South Street, Shrewsbury, MA 01545     Jay.Estabrook@digital.com

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