copy_4K_page() doesn't use dcbtst?

Hollis Blanchard hollisb at
Tue Aug 29 12:11:53 EST 2006

On Tue, 2006-08-29 at 10:16 +1000, Paul Mackerras wrote:
> Hollis Blanchard writes:
> > Hi Paul, some Xen people were just noticing that copy_4K_page
> > (arch/powerpc/lib/copypage_64.S) doesn't use the dcbtst instruction. Why
> > doesn't it help there?
> Why would we want to read the cache lines for the destination from
> memory when we're only going to overwrite them completely anyway?
> A stronger argument would be for using dcbz, but IIRC it actually made
> things slower (on POWER4 at least).  I suspect the hardware is
> gathering the stores for the whole of each cache line automatically,
> so using dcbz doesn't provide any benefit.

Yes, dcbz makes more sense.

> I did a lot of measurements of memory copy speed on POWER4 (using
> different copy loops, copy sizes, alignments, cache hot/cold cases)
> and the copy_4K_page loop is the fastest I could come up with for
> POWER4.  If anyone can come up with a routine that is measurably
> faster on current machines, I'm happy to look at it, of course.

I figured you had done measurements; we were just curious about the
unexpected results. Thanks!

Hollis Blanchard
IBM Linux Technology Center

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