Re: A proposal to enhance RISC-V HPM (Hardware Performance Monitor)

Anup Patel

The most desired feature from a PMU is counting events in right-context (or right-mode). This is not clearly defined in RISC-V spec right now. Greg’s proposal already address this in a clean way by defining required bits in MHPMEVENT CSRs.


Other important feature expected from a PMU is reading counters without traps, this is already available because HPMCOUNTER CSRs are “User-Read-Only”.


Regarding HPMCOUNTER writes from S-mode, the Linux PMU drivers (across architectures) only writes PMU counter at time of configuring the counter. We anyway have SBI call to configure a RISC-V PMU counter because MHPMEVENT CSR is for M-mode only so it is better to initialize/write the MHPMCOUNTER CSR in M-mode at time of configuring the counter. Allowing S-mode to write HPMCOUNTER CSR is good but won’t benefit much. On the contrary, RISC-V hypervisors might end up save/restore more CSRs if HPMCOUTNER CSR is writeable from S-mode.


The code snippet mentioned below requires “#ifdef” which means we have to build Linux RISC-V image differently for doing CSR writes this way. This approach is not going to fly for distros because distros can’t release single Linux RISC-V image for all RISC-V hardware if we have such “#ifdef”.





From: alankao <alankao@...>
Sent: 04 August 2020 12:44
To: Anup Patel <Anup.Patel@...>
Subject: Private: Re: [RISC-V] [tech-privileged] A proposal to enhance RISC-V HPM (Hardware Performance Monitor)


The bit[28], or the *mcounterwen* in my original proposal, is essential for better performance versus m-mode register access through SBI or trap-emulation. It is definitely helpful for a simple M-S-U RISC-V system.  How many cycles are you willing to give up just to update the M-mode register every time the kernel handles an HPM interrupt or a context switch?  I admit it may not be useful, or even harmful for M-H-S-U system, but it is obvious that a simple RISC-V machine running single OS kernel can largely benefit from it.

I suggest we kept it (either bit[28] or thing like our *mcounterwen*) as some WARL.  In Linux kernel, we can have an API, and the real implementation is like

// that the bit[28]s have been enabled at initialization stage

Any comments? 

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