powerpc: mitigate impact of decrementer reset

Michael Ellerman mpe at ellerman.id.au
Wed Oct 8 13:52:10 EST 2014

On Tue, 2014-07-10 at 19:13:24 UTC, Paul Clarke wrote:
> The POWER ISA defines an always-running decrementer which can be used
> to schedule interrupts after a certain time interval has elapsed.
> The decrementer counts down at the same frequency as the Time Base,
> which is 512 MHz.  The maximum value of the decrementer is 0x7fffffff.
> This works out to a maximum interval of about 4.19 seconds.
> If a larger interval is desired, the kernel will set the decrementer
> to its maximum value and reset it after it expires (underflows)
> a sufficient number of times until the desired interval has elapsed.
> The negative effect of this is that an unwanted latency spike will
> impact normal processing at most every 4.19 seconds.  On an IBM
> POWER8-based system, this spike was measured at about 25-30
> microseconds, much of which was basic, opportunistic housekeeping
> tasks that could otherwise have waited.
> This patch short-circuits the reset of the decrementer, exiting after
> the decrementer reset, but before the housekeeping tasks if the only
> need for the interrupt is simply to reset it.  After this patch,
> the latency spike was measured at about 150 nanoseconds.

Hi Paul,

Thanks for the excellent changelog. But this patch makes me a bit nervous :)

Do you know where the latency is coming from? Is it primarily the irq work?

If so I'd prefer if we could move the short circuit into __timer_interrupt()
itself. That way we'd still have the trace points usable, and it would
hopefully result in less duplicated logic.


More information about the Linuxppc-dev mailing list