AW: PowerPC PCI DMA issues (prefetch/coherency?)

Adam Zilkie azilkie at
Fri Sep 4 02:04:50 EST 2009


Thanks for your info.

Are you sure there is L2 cache on the 440?

I am seeing this problem with our custom IDE driver which is based on
pretty old code. Our driver uses pci_alloc_consistent() to allocate the
physical DMA memory and alloc_pages() to allocate a virtual page. It
then uses pci_map_sg() to map to a scatter/gather buffer. Perhaps I
should convert these to the DMA API calls as you suggest.


On Thu, 2009-09-03 at 19:57 +1000, Benjamin Herrenschmidt wrote:
> On Thu, 2009-09-03 at 09:05 +0100, Chris Pringle wrote:
> > Hi Adam,
> > 
> > If you have a look in include/asm-ppc/pgtable.h for the following section:
> > #ifdef CONFIG_44x
> > #else
> > #endif
> > 
> > Try adding _PAGE_COHERENT to the appropriate line above and see if that 
> > fixes your issue - this causes the 'M' bit to be set on the page which 
> > sure enforce cache coherency. If it doesn't, you'll need to check the 
> > 'M' bit isn't being masked out in head_44x.S (it was originally masked 
> > out on arch/powerpc, but was fixed in later kernels when the cache 
> > coherency issues with non-SMP systems were resolved).
> I have some doubts about the usefulness of doing that for 4xx. AFAIK,
> the 440 core just ignores M.
> The problem lies probably elsewhere. Maybe the L2 cache coherency isn't
> enabled or not working ?
> The L1 cache on 440 is simply not coherent, so drivers have to make sure
> they use the appropriate DMA APIs which will do cache flushing when
> needed.
> Adam, what driver is causing you that sort of problems ?
> Cheers,
> Ben.
Adam Zilkie
Software Designer,
International Datacasting Corp.

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