Re: Hardware spec prevents optimal performance in device driver

From: Måns Rullgård
Date: Sun May 10 2015 - 06:37:11 EST

Mason <slash.tmp@xxxxxxx> writes:

> One Thousand Gnomes wrote:
>> Mason wrote:
>>> I'm writing a device driver for a serial-ish kind of device.
>>> I'm interested in the TX side of the problem. (I'm working on
>>> an ARM Cortex A9 system by the way.)
>>> There's a 16-byte TX FIFO. Data is queued to the FIFO by writing
>>> {1,2,4} bytes to a TX{8,16,32} memory-mapped register.
>>> Reading the TX_DEPTH register returns the current queue depth.
>>> The TX_READY IRQ is asserted when (and only when) TX_DEPTH
>>> transitions from 1 to 0.
>> If the last statement is correct then your performance is probably always
>> going to suck unless there is additional invisible queueing beyond the
>> visible FIFO.
> Do you agree with my assessment that the current semantics for
> TX_READY lead to a race condition, unless we limit ourselves
> to a single (atomic) write between interrupts?

No. To get best throughput, you can simply busy-wait until TX_DEPTH
indicates the FIFO is almost empty, then write a few words, but no more
than you know fit in the FIFO. Repeat until all data has been written.
Use the IRQ only to signal completion of the entire packet.

If the transmit rate is low, you can save some CPU time by filling the
FIFO, then sleeping until it should be almost empty, fill again, etc.

Whether busy-waiting or sleeping, this approach keeps the data flowing
as fast as possible.

With the hardware you describe, there is unfortunately a trade-off
between throughput and CPU efficiency. You'll have to decide which is
more important to you.

Måns Rullgård
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