Nehalem Architecture: Improvements Detailed

By: Linus Torvalds (torvalds.delete@this.linux-foundation.org), March 19, 2008 1:43 pm
Room: Moderated Discussions
Philip Honermann (Philip.Honermann@googlemail.com) on 3/19/08 wrote:
>
>> If using the lock prefix is a legacy
>> operation what are the modern ones?
>
>It would be nice if it would be considered legacy and LL/SC
>would be implemented.

Having worked with both, I can't say that there is any real
difference. The x86 locked operations are complete enough
that there has never been a situation where LL/SC would
actually be more flexible in practice.

You can always replace LL/SC with "load + cmpxchg", and
that one actually works at a higher level (ie you can do
the latter in C or your choice of other high-level language,
which is generally not true of LL/SC, since there are always
some micro-architectural limitations on how far apart the
two instructions can be).

So in practice, the problems have been

- really limited architectures that don't have any good
atomic primitives at all (eg just "tas" or similar:
parisc, old sparc, old arm - note that quite often you
want atomicity from interrupts even on UP, so
atomicity is about more than just SMP)

- bad memory ordering models and/or microarchitectural
implementations that make the locks costly independently
of the instructions chosen.

An example of the latter is actually early alpha: they
had your beloved LL/SC, but the implementation was so
incredibly atrociously bad that it implied an external
bus cycle or something, so any atomic operations took just
about forever.

LL/SC is clean, but it really isn't any better than having
the x86 kind of locked instructions, and in many ways is
much worse (ie the x86 model gives you atomicity wrt
interrupts without the lock, and a wide variety of simple
operations with the lock).

But the bottom line is: the only actual advantage of LL/SC
simply goes away if you write portable code and use any
high-level languages. Which means that it just isn't very
interesting.

Memory ordering and other details tend to matter much more.

Linus
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TopicPosted ByDate
Nehalem Architecture: Improvements Detailed Blut Aus Nord2008/03/17 02:52 PM
  Nehalem Architecture: Improvements Detailed bah2008/03/17 04:45 PM
    Nehalem Architecture: Improvements Detailed Linus Torvalds2008/03/17 06:14 PM
      Nehalem Architecture: Improvements Detailed Gabriele Svelto2008/03/18 01:11 AM
        Nehalem Architecture: Improvements Detailed Henrik S2008/03/18 04:23 AM
        Nehalem Architecture: Improvements Detailed Doug Siebert2008/03/18 09:48 PM
          Nehalem Architecture: Improvements Detailed anon2008/03/18 10:37 PM
            Nehalem Architecture: Improvements Detailed Doug Siebert2008/03/19 05:23 PM
          Nehalem Architecture: Improvements Detailed Ian Ollmann2008/03/19 08:15 AM
            SSE 4.2 Michael S2008/03/19 04:13 PM
              SSE 4.2 Ian Ollmann2008/03/20 09:56 AM
              SSE 4.2 anonymous2008/03/20 12:29 PM
                SSE 4.2 David W. Hess2008/03/21 07:24 AM
                  SSE 4.2 anonymous2008/03/22 07:27 AM
      CMPXCHG latencyDavid Kanter2008/03/28 05:59 PM
        CMPXCHG latencyanonymous coward2008/03/28 10:24 PM
          CMPXCHG latencyDavid Kanter2008/03/28 10:26 PM
            CMPXCHG latencyLinus Torvalds2008/03/29 11:43 AM
              CMPXCHG latencyDavid W. Hess2008/03/29 11:56 AM
              CMPXCHG latencyLinus Torvalds2008/03/29 02:17 PM
                CMPXCHG latencyGabriele Svelto2008/03/31 12:25 AM
                  CMPXCHG latencyMichael S2008/03/31 12:38 AM
                    CMPXCHG latencynick2008/03/31 12:52 AM
                      CMPXCHG latencyMichael S2008/03/31 01:51 AM
                        CMPXCHG latencyGabriele Svelto2008/03/31 02:08 AM
                        CMPXCHG latencynick2008/03/31 07:20 PM
                          CMPXCHG latencyMichael S2008/04/01 01:14 AM
                            CMPXCHG latencynick2008/04/01 02:34 AM
                    CMPXCHG latencyLinus Torvalds2008/03/31 10:16 AM
                      CMPXCHG latencyAaron Spink2008/03/31 07:15 PM
                        CMPXCHG latencynick2008/03/31 07:34 PM
                        CMPXCHG latencyLinus Torvalds2008/04/01 08:25 AM
                          CMPXCHG latencyZan2008/04/01 09:54 PM
                          CMPXCHG latencyZan2008/04/02 12:11 AM
                            CMPXCHG latencyLinus Torvalds2008/04/02 08:04 AM
                              CMPXCHG latencyZan2008/04/02 11:02 AM
                                CMPXCHG latencyLinus Torvalds2008/04/02 12:02 PM
                                  CMPXCHG latencyZan2008/04/02 04:15 PM
                      CMPXCHG latencyMichael S2008/04/01 01:26 AM
                        CMPXCHG latencyLinus Torvalds2008/04/01 07:08 AM
                CMPXCHG latency - Intel sourceWouter Tinus2008/04/02 12:36 PM
                  CMPXCHG latency - Intel sourceLinus Torvalds2008/04/02 02:21 PM
                    CMPXCHG latency - Intel sourceDavid Kanter2008/04/02 02:39 PM
    Nehalem Architecture: Improvements Detailed Philip Honermann2008/03/19 01:11 PM
      Nehalem Architecture: Improvements Detailed Linus Torvalds2008/03/19 01:43 PM
        CMPXCHG - all or nothingMichael S2008/03/19 03:49 PM
          multithreading - all or nothingno@thanks.com2008/03/19 05:17 PM
          CMPXCHG - all or nothingLinus Torvalds2008/03/19 05:21 PM
            CMPXCHG - all or nothingMichael S2008/03/20 06:38 AM
              CMPXCHG - all or nothingLinus Torvalds2008/03/20 08:45 AM
                CMPXCHG - all or nothingMichael S2008/03/21 07:08 AM
                  CMPXCHG - all or nothingLinus Torvalds2008/03/21 08:47 AM
            CMPXCHG - all or nothingHenrik S2008/03/20 10:09 AM
              CMPXCHG - all or nothingLinus Torvalds2008/03/20 10:53 AM
                CMPXCHG - all or nothingHenrik S2008/03/20 12:03 PM
                  CMPXCHG - all or nothingLinus Torvalds2008/03/20 01:12 PM
                    CMPXCHG - all or nothingHenrik S2008/03/21 12:13 AM
                      CMPXCHG - all or nothingGabriele Svelto2008/03/21 01:22 AM
        Nehalem Architecture: Improvements Detailed Philip Honermann2008/03/19 06:28 PM
          Nehalem Architecture: Improvements Detailed Linus Torvalds2008/03/19 07:42 PM
            Nehalem Architecture: Improvements Detailed Philip Honermann2008/03/20 06:03 PM
              Nehalem Architecture: Improvements Detailed Linus Torvalds2008/03/20 06:33 PM
                Nehalem Architecture: Improvements Detailed Philip Honermann2008/03/25 06:37 AM
                  Nehalem Architecture: Improvements Detailed Linus Torvalds2008/03/25 08:52 AM
                    What is DCAS? (NT)David Kanter2008/03/25 10:13 AM
                      Double compare-and-exchangeHenrik S2008/03/25 10:57 AM
                        Double compare-and-exchangeLinus Torvalds2008/03/25 11:38 AM
                          Double compare-and-exchangesavantu2008/03/25 01:54 PM
                            Double compare-and-exchangeLinus Torvalds2008/03/25 04:09 PM
                              Double compare-and-exchangeJamie Lucier2008/03/25 08:55 PM
                                Double compare-and-exchangesavantu2008/03/25 09:15 PM
                                  Double compare-and-exchangeHenrik S2008/03/26 08:40 AM
                                    Double compare-and-exchangeArun Ramakrishnan2008/03/27 02:07 AM
                                      Double compare-and-exchangeHenrik S2008/03/27 04:45 AM
                                  Surely GPL applies ?Richard Cownie2008/03/26 10:05 AM
                                    Surely GPL applies ?anon2008/03/26 02:58 PM
                                    Surely GPL applies ?Paul2008/03/26 05:01 PM
                                Double compare-and-exchangesomeone2008/03/25 09:18 PM
                                  Double compare-and-exchangeArun Ramakrishnan2008/03/27 02:03 AM
                                    Double compare-and-exchangesavantu2008/03/27 03:01 AM
                                      Double compare-and-exchangeArun Ramakrishnan2008/03/30 09:09 AM
                                        Double compare-and-exchangesavantu2008/03/30 09:59 AM
                                Double compare-and-exchangeLinus Torvalds2008/03/26 10:50 AM
                                  Double compare-and-exchangeanon2008/03/26 04:47 PM
                                  Double compare-and-exchangePaul2008/03/26 05:07 PM
                          Double compare-and-exchangeHoward Chu2008/03/25 05:18 PM
  Nehalem Architecture: Improvements Detailed Mr. Camel2008/03/17 08:50 PM
    Nehalem Architecture: Improvements Detailed anonymous2008/03/17 09:20 PM
  TFP will finally come :-)Paul A. Clayton2008/03/18 12:56 PM
  Nehalem Architecture: Improvements Detailed IntelUser20002008/03/27 07:46 PM
    Nehalem Architecture: Improvements Detailed David Kanter2008/03/27 10:21 PM
      Nehalem Architecture: Improvements Detailed nick2008/03/27 11:06 PM
        Nehalem Architecture: Improvements Detailed David Kanter2008/03/28 02:45 PM
          Nehalem Architecture: Improvements Detailed nick2008/03/28 07:52 PM
  L1 I-cachepuzzled2008/04/01 07:53 AM
    L1 I-cacheS. Rao2008/04/01 09:47 AM
    L1 I-cacherwessel2008/04/01 12:23 PM
    L1 I-cacheGabriele Svelto2008/04/03 12:30 AM
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