PCI Devices

PCI Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI), as its name implies is a standard that describes how to connect the peripheral components of a system together in a structured and controlled way. The standard describes the way that the system components are electrically connected and the way that they should behave. This chapter looks at how the Linux kernel initializes the system’s PCI buses and devices.

Figure 6.1: Example PCI Based System

The figure above is a logical diagram of an example PCI based system. The PCI buses and PCI-PCI bridges are the glue connecting the system components together; the CPU is connected to PCI bus 0, the primary PCI bus as is the video device. A special PCI device, a PCI-PCI bridge connects the primary bus to the secondary PCI bus, PCI bus 1. In the jargon of the PCI specification, PCI bus 1 is described as being downstream of the PCI-PCI bridge and PCI bus 0 is up-stream of the bridge. Connected to the secondary PCI bus are the SCSI and ethernet devices for the system. Physically the bridge, secondary PCI bus and two devices would all be contained on the same combination PCI card. The PCI-ISA bridge in the system supports older, legacy ISA devices and the diagram shows a super I/O controller chip, which controls the keyboard, mouse and floppy.

PCI Address Spaces

The CPU and the PCI devices need to access memory that is shared between them. This memory is used by device drivers to control the PCI devices and to pass information between them. Typically the shared memory contains control and status registers for the device. These registers are used to control the device and to read its status. For example, the PCI SCSI device driver would read its status register to find out if the SCSI device was ready to write a block of information to the SCSI disk. Or it might write to the control register to start the device running after it has been turned on.

The CPU’s system memory could be used for this shared memory but if it were, then every time a PCI device accessed memory, the CPU would have to stall, waiting for the PCI device to finish. Access to memory is generally limited to one system component at a time. This would slow the system down. It is also not a good idea to allow the system’s peripheral devices to access main memory in an uncontrolled way. This would be very dangerous; a rogue device could make the system very unstable.

Peripheral devices have their own memory spaces. The CPU can access these spaces but access by the devices into the system’s memory is very strictly controlled using DMA (Direct Memory Access) channels. ISA devices have access to two address spaces, ISA I/O (Input/Output) and ISA memory. PCI has three; PCI I/O, PCI Memory and PCI Configuration space. All of these address spaces are also accessible by the CPU with the the PCI I/O and PCI Memory address spaces being used by the device drivers and the PCI Configuration space being used by the PCI initialization code within the Linux kernel.

The Alpha AXP processor does not have natural access to addresses spaces other than the system address space. It uses support chipsets to access other address spaces such as PCI Configuration space. It uses a sparse address mapping scheme which steals part of the large virtual address space and maps it to the PCI address spaces.

PCI Configuration Headers

Figure: The PCI Configuration Header

Every PCI device in the system, including the PCI-PCI bridges has a configuration data structure that is somewhere in the PCI configuration address space. The PCI Configuration header allows the system to identify and control the device. Exactly where the header is in the PCI Configuration address space depends on where in the PCI topology that device is. For example, a PCI video card plugged into one PCI slot on the PC motherboard will have its configuration header at one location and if it is plugged into another PCI slot then its header will appear in another location in PCI Configuration memory. This does not matter, for wherever the PCI devices and bridges are the system will find and configure them using the status and configuration registers in their configuration headers.

Typically, systems are designed so that every PCI slot has it’s PCI Configuration Header in an offset that is related to its slot on the board. So, for example, the first slot on the board might have its PCI Configuration at offset 0 and the second slot at offset 256 (all headers are the same length, 256 bytes) and so on. A system specific hardware mechanism is defined so that the PCI configuration code can attempt to examine all possible PCI Configuration Headers for a given PCI bus and know which devices are present and which devices are absent simply by trying to read one of the fields in the header (usually the Vendor Identification field) and getting some sort of error. The describes one possible error message as returning 0xFFFFFFFF when attempting to read the Vendor Identification and Device Identification fields for an empty PCI slot.

The figure above shows the layout of the 256 byte PCI configuration header. It contains the following fields:

Vendor Identification
A unique number describing the originator of the PCI device. Digital’s PCI Vendor Identification is 0x1011 and Intel’s is 0x8086.
Device Identification
A unique number describing the device itself. For example, Digital’s 21141 fast ethernet device has a device identification of 0x0009.
This field gives the status of the device with the meaning of the bits of this field set by the standard. .
By writing to this field the system controls the device, for example allowing the device to access PCI I/O memory,
Class Code
This identifies the type of device that this is. There are standard classes for every sort of device; video, SCSI and so on. The class code for SCSI is 0x0100.
Base Address Registers
These registers are used to determine and allocate the type, amount and location of PCI I/O and PCI memory space that the device can use.
Interrupt Pin
Four of the physical pins on the PCI card carry interrupts from the card to the PCI bus. The standard labels these as A, B, C and D. The Interrupt Pin field describes which of these pins this PCI device uses. Generally it is hardwired for a pariticular device. That is, every time the system boots, the device uses the same interrupt pin. This information allows the interrupt handling subsystem to manage interrupts from this device,
Interrupt Line
The Interrupt Line field of the device’s PCI Configuration header is used to pass an interrupt handle between the PCI initialisation code, the device’s driver and Linux’s interrupt handling subsystem. The number written there is meaningless to the the device driver but it allows the interrupt handler to correctly route an interrupt from the PCI device to the correct device driver’s interrupt handling code within the Linux operating system. See Chapter  interrupt-chapter on page  for details on how Linux handles interrupts.

PCI I/O and PCI Memory Addresses

These two address spaces are used by the devices to communicate with their device drivers running in the Linux kernel on the CPU. For example, the DECchip 21141 fast ethernet device maps its internal registers into PCI I/O space. Its Linux device driver then reads and writes those registers to control the device. Video drivers typically use large amounts of PCI memory space to contain video information.

Until the PCI system has been set up and the device’s access to these address spaces has been turned on using the Command field in the PCI Configuration header, nothing can access them. It should be noted that only the PCI configuration code reads and writes PCI configuration addresses; the Linux device drivers only read and write PCI I/O and PCI memory addresses.

PCI-ISA Bridges

These bridges support legacy ISA devices by translating PCI I/O and PCI Memory space accesses into ISA I/O and ISA Memory accesses. A lot of systems now sold contain several ISA bus slots and several PCI bus slots. Over time the need for this backwards compatibility will dwindle and PCI only systems will be sold. Where in the ISA address spaces (I/O and Memory) the ISA devices of the system have their registers was fixed in the dim mists of time by the early Intel 8080 based PCs. Even a $5000 Alpha AXP based computer systems will have its ISA floppy controller at the same place in ISA I/O space as the first IBM PC. The PCI specification copes with this by reserving the lower regions of the PCI I/O and PCI Memory address spaces for use by the ISA peripherals in the system and using a single PCI-ISA bridge to translate any PCI memory accesses to those regions into ISA accesses.

PCI-PCI Bridges

PCI-PCI bridges are special PCI devices that glue the PCI buses of the system together. Simple systems have a single PCI bus but there is an electrical limit on the number of PCI devices that a single PCI bus can support. Using PCI-PCI bridges to add more PCI buses allows the system to support many more PCI devices. This is particularly important for a high performance server. Of course, Linux fully supports the use of PCI-PCI bridges.

PCI-PCI Bridges: PCI I/O and PCI Memory Windows

PCI-PCI bridges only pass a subset of PCI I/O and PCI memory read and write requests downstream. For example, in the figure above, the PCI-PCI bridge will only pass read and write addresses from PCI bus 0 to PCI bus 1 if they are for PCI I/O or PCI memory addresses owned by either the SCSI or ethernet device; all other PCI I/O and memory addresses are ignored. This filtering stops addresses propogating needlessly throughout the system. To do this, the PCI-PCI bridges must be programmed with a base and limit for PCI I/O and PCI Memory space access that they have to pass from their primary bus onto their secondary bus. Once the PCI-PCI Bridges in a system have been configured then so long as the Linux device drivers only access PCI I/O and PCI Memory space via these windows, the PCI-PCI Bridges are invisible. This is an important feature that makes life easier for Linux PCI device driver writers. However, it also makes PCI-PCI bridges somewhat tricky for Linux to configure as we shall see later on.

PCI-PCI Bridges: PCI Configuration Cycles and PCI Bus Numbering

Figure: Type 0 PCI Configuration Cycle

Figure: Type 1 PCI Configuration Cycle

So that the CPU’s PCI initialization code can address devices that are not on the main PCI bus, there has to be a mechanism that allows bridges to decide whether or not to pass Configuration cycles from their primary interface to their secondary interface. A cycle is just an address as it appears on the PCI bus. The PCI specification defines two formats for the PCI Configuration addresses; Type 0 and Type 1; these are shown in the figures above, respectively. Type 0 PCI Configuration cycles do not contain a bus number and these are interpretted by all devices as being for PCI configuration addresses on this PCI bus. Bits 31:11 of the Type 0 configuraration cycles are treated as the device select field. One way to design a system is to have each bit select a different device. In this case bit 11 would select the PCI device in slot 0, bit 12 would select the PCI device in slot 1 and so on. Another way is to write the device’s slot number directly into bits 31:11. Which mechanism is used in a system depends on the system’s PCI memory controller.

Type 1 PCI Configuration cycles contain a PCI bus number and this type of configuration cycle is ignored by all PCI devices except the PCI-PCI bridges. All of the PCI-PCI Bridges seeing Type 1 configuration cycles may choose to pass them to the PCI buses downstream of themselves. Whether the PCI-PCI Bridge ignores the Type 1 configuration cycle or passes it onto the downstream PCI bus depends on how the PCI-PCI Bridge has been configured. Every PCI-PCI bridge has a primary bus interface number and a secondary bus interface number. The primary bus interface being the one nearest the CPU and the secondary bus interface being the one furthest away. Each PCI-PCI Bridge also has a subordinate bus number and this is the maximum bus number of all the PCI buses that are bridged beyond the secondary bus interface. Or to put it another way, the subordinate bus number is the highest numbered PCI bus downstream of the PCI-PCI bridge. When the PCI-PCI bridge sees a Type 1 PCI configuration cycle it does one of the following things:

  • Ignore it if the bus number specified is not in between the bridge’s secondary bus number and subordinate bus number (inclusive),

  • Convert it to a Type 0 configuration command if the bus number specified matches the secondary bus number of the bridge,

  • Pass it onto the secondary bus interface unchanged if the bus number specified is greater than the secondary bus number and less than or equal to the subordinate bus number.

So, if we want to address Device 1 on bus 3 of the topology in the figure above we must generate a Type 1 Configuration command from the CPU. Bridge1 passes this unchanged onto Bus 1. Bridge2 ignores it but Bridge3 converts it into a Type 0 Configuration command and sends it out on Bus 3 where Device 1 responds to it.

It is up to each individual operating system to allocate bus numbers during PCI configuration but whatever the numbering scheme used the following statement must be true for all of the PCI-PCI bridges in the system:

“All PCI buses located behind a PCI-PCI bridge must reside between the seondary bus number and the subordinate bus number (inclusive).”

If this rule is broken then the PCI-PCI Bridges will not pass and translate Type 1 PCI configuration cycles correctly and the system will fail to find and initialise the PCI devices in the system. To achieve this numbering scheme, Linux configures these special devices in a particular order. Section  pci-pci-bus-numbering on page  describes Linux’s PCI bridge and bus numbering scheme in detail together with a worked example.

Linux PCI Initialization

The PCI initialisation code in Linux is broken into three logical parts:

PCI Device Driver
This pseudo-device driver searches the PCI system starting at Bus 0 and locates all PCI devices and bridges in the system. It builds a linked list of data structures describing the topology of the system. Additionally, it numbers all of the bridges that it finds.

This software layer provides the services described in bib-pci-bios-specification. Even though Alpha AXP does not have BIOS services, there is equivalent code in the Linux kernel providing the same functions,

PCI Fixup
System specific fixup code tidies up the system specific loose ends of PCI initialization.

The Linux Kernel PCI Data Structures

Figure: Linux Kernel PCI Data Structures

As the Linux kernel initialises the PCI system it builds data structures mirroring the real PCI topology of the system. The figure above shows the relationships of the data structures that it would build for the example PCI system in the figure above.

Each PCI device (including the PCI-PCI Bridges) is described by a pci_dev data structure. Each PCI bus is described by a pci_bus data structure. The result is a tree structure of PCI buses each of which has a number of child PCI devices attached to it. As a PCI bus can only be reached using a PCI-PCI Bridge (except the primary PCI bus, bus 0), each pci_bus contains a pointer to the PCI device (the PCI-PCI Bridge) that it is accessed through. That PCI device is a child of the the PCI Bus’s parent PCI bus.

Not shown in the figure above, is a pointer to all of the PCI devices in the system, pci_devices. All of the PCI devices in the system have their pci_dev data structures queued onto this queue.. This queue is used by the Linux kernel to quickly find all of the PCI devices in the system.

The PCI Device Driver

The PCI device driver is not really a device driver at all but a function of the operating system called at system initialisation time. The PCI initialisation code must scan all of the PCI buses in the system looking for all PCI devices in the system (including PCI-PCI bridge devices).

It uses the PCI BIOS code to find out if every possible slot in the current PCI bus that it is scanning is occupied. If the PCI slot is occupied, it builds a pci_dev data structure describing the device and links into the list of known PCI devices (pointed at by pci_devices).

The PCI initialisation code starts by scanning PCI Bus 0. It tries to read the Vendor Identification and Device Identification fields for every possible PCI device in every possible PCI slot. When it finds an occupied slot it builds a pci_dev data structure describing the device. All of the pci_dev data structures built by the PCI initialisation code (including all of the PCI-PCI Bridges) are linked into a singly linked list; pci_devices.

If the PCI device that was found was a PCI-PCI bridge then a pci_bus data structure is built and linked into the tree of pci_bus and pci_dev data structures pointed at by pci_root. The PCI initialisation code can tell if the PCI device is a PCI-PCI Bridge because it has a class code of 0x060400. The Linux kernel then configures the PCI bus on the other (downstream) side of the PCI-PCI Bridge that it has just found. If more PCI-PCI Bridges are found then these are also configured. This process is known as a depthwise algorithm; the system’s PCI topology is fully mapped depthwise before searching breadthwise. Looking at the figure above, Linux would configure PCI Bus 1 with its Ethernet and SCSI device before it configured the video device on PCI Bus 0.

As Linux searches for downstream PCI buses it must also configure the intervening PCI-PCI bridges’ secondary and subordinate bus numbers. This is described in detail in the section on pci-pci-bus-numbering below.

Configuring PCI-PCI Bridges – Assigning PCI Bus Numbers

Figure: Configuring a PCI System: Part 1

For PCI-PCI bridges to pass PCI I/O, PCI Memory or PCI Configuration address space reads and writes across them, they need to know the following:

Primary Bus Number
The bus number immediately upstream of the PCI-PCI Bridge,
Secondary Bus Number
The bus number immediately downstream of the PCI-PCI Bridge,
Subordinate Bus Number
The highest bus number of all of the buses that can be reached downstream of the bridge.
PCI I/O and PCI Memory Windows
The window base and size for PCI I/O address space and PCI Memory address space for all addresses downstream of the PCI-PCI Bridge.

The problem is that at the time when you wish to configure any given PCI-PCI bridge you do not know the subordinate bus number for that bridge. You do not know if there are further PCI-PCI bridges downstream and if you did, you do not know what numbers will be assigned to them. The answer is to use a depthwise recursive algorithm and scan each bus for any PCI-PCI bridges assigning them numbers as they are found. As each PCI-PCI bridge is found and its secondary bus numbered, assign it a temporary subordinate number of 0xFF and scan and assign numbers to all PCI-PCI bridges downstream of it. This all seems complicated but the worked example below makes this process clearer.

PCI-PCI Bridge Numbering: Step 1
Taking the topology in the figure above, the first bridge the scan would find is Bridge1. The PCI bus downstream of Bridge1 would be numbered as 1 and Bridge1 assigned a secondary bus number of 1 and a temporary subordinate bus number of 0xFF. This means that all Type 1 PCI Configuration addresses specifying a PCI bus number of 1 or higher would be passed across Bridge1 and onto PCI Bus 1. They would be translated into Type 0 Configuration cycles if they have a bus number of 1 but left untranslated for all other bus numbers. This is exactly what the Linux PCI initialisation code needs to do in order to go and scan PCI Bus 1.

Figure: Configuring a PCI System: Part 2

PCI-PCI Bridge Numbering: Step 2
Linux uses a depthwise algorithm and so the initialisation code goes on to scan PCI Bus 1. Here it finds PCI-PCI Bridge2. There are no further PCI-PCI bridges beyond PCI-PCI Bridge2, so it is assigned a subordinate bus number of 2 which matches the number assigned to its secondary interface. Figure  6.7 shows how the buses and PCI-PCI bridges are numbered at this point.

Figure: Configuring a PCI System: Part 3

PCI-PCI Bridge Numbering: Step 3
The PCI initialisation code returns to scanning PCI Bus 1 and finds another PCI-PCI bridge, Bridge3. It is assigned 1 as its primary bus interface number, 3 as its secondary bus interface number and 0xFF as its subordinate bus number. The Figure above shows how the system is configured now. Type 1 PCI configuration cycles with a bus number of 1, 2 or 3 wil be correctly delivered to the appropriate PCI buses.

Figure: Configuring a PCI System: Part 4

PCI-PCI Bridge Numbering: Step 4
Linux starts scanning PCI Bus 3, downstream of PCI-PCI Bridge3. PCI Bus 3 has another PCI-PCI bridge (Bridge4) on it, it is assigned 3 as its primary bus number and 4 as its secondary bus number. It is the last bridge on this branch and so it is assigned a subordinate bus interface number of 4. The initialisation code returns to PCI-PCI Bridge3 and assigns it a subordinate bus number of 4. Finally, the PCI initialisation code can assign 4 as the subordinate bus number for PCI-PCI Bridge1. Figure  6.9 on page pageref shows the final bus numbers.

PCI BIOS Functions

The PCI BIOS functions are a series of standard routines which are common across all platforms. For example, they are the same for both Intel and Alpha AXP based systems. They allow the CPU controlled access to all of the PCI address spaces.

Only Linux kernel code and device drivers may use them.

PCI Fixup

The PCI fixup code for Alpha AXP does rather more than that for Intel (which basically does nothing).

For Intel based systems the system BIOS, which ran at boot time, has already fully configured the PCI system. This leaves Linux with little to do other than map that configuration. For non-Intel based systems further configuration needs to happen to:

  • Allocate PCI I/O and PCI Memory space to each device,
  • Configure the PCI I/O and PCI Memory address windows for each PCI-PCI bridge in the system,
  • Generate Interrupt Line values for the devices; these control interrupt handling for the device.

The next subsections describe how that code works.

Finding Out How Much PCI I/O and PCI Memory Space a Device Needs

Each PCI device found is queried to find out how much PCI I/O and PCI Memory address space it requires. To do this, each Base Address Register has all 1’s written to it and then read. The device will return 0’s in the don’t-care address bits, effectively specifying the address space required.

Figure: PCI Configuration Header: Base Address Registers

There are two basic types of Base Address Register, the first indicates within which address space the devices registers must reside; either PCI I/O or PCI Memory space. This is indicated by Bit 0 of the register. Figure  6.10 shows the two forms of the Base Address Register for PCI Memory and for PCI I/O.

To find out just how much of each address space a given Base Address Register is requesting, you write all 1s into the register and then read it back. The device will specify zeros in the don’t care address bits, effectively specifying the address space required. This design implies that all address spaces used are a power of two and are naturally aligned.

For example when you initialize the DECChip 21142 PCI Fast Ethernet device, it tells you that it needs 0x100 bytes of space of either PCI I/O or PCI Memory. The initialization code allocates it space. The moment that it allocates space, the 21142’s control and status registers can be seen at those addresses.

Allocating PCI I/O and PCI Memory to PCI-PCI Bridges and Devices

Like all memory the PCI I/O and PCI memory spaces are finite, and to some extent scarce. The PCI Fixup code for non-Intel systems (and the BIOS code for Intel systems) has to allocate each device the amount of memory that it is requesting in an efficient manner. Both PCI I/O and PCI Memory must be allocated to a device in a naturally aligned way. For example, if a device asks for 0xB0 of PCI I/O space then it must be aligned on an address that is a multiple of 0xB0. In addition to this, the PCI I/O and PCI Memory bases for any given bridge must be aligned on 4K and on 1Mbyte boundaries respectively. Given that the address spaces for downstream devices must lie within all of the upstream PCI-PCI Bridge’s memory ranges for any given device, it is a somewhat difficult problem to allocate space efficiently.

The algorithm that Linux uses relies on each device described by the bus/device tree built by the PCI Device Driver being allocated address space in ascending PCI I/O memory order. Again a recursive algorithm is used to walk the pci_bus and pci_dev data structures built by the PCI initialisation code. Starting at the root PCI bus (pointed at by pci_root) the BIOS fixup code:

  • Aligns the current global PCI I/O and Memory bases on 4K and 1 Mbyte boundaries respectively,

  • For every device on the current bus (in ascending PCI I/O memory needs),
    • allocates it space in PCI I/O and/or PCI Memory,

    • moves on the global PCI I/O and Memory bases by the appropriate amounts,

    • enables the device’s use of PCI I/O and PCI Memory,

  • Allocates space recursively to all of the buses downstream of the current bus. Note that this will change the global PCI I/O and Memory bases,

  • Aligns the current global PCI I/O and Memory bases on 4K and 1 Mbyte boundaries respectively and in doing so figure out the size and base of PCI I/O and PCI Memory windows required by the current PCI-PCI bridge,

  • Programs the PCI-PCI bridge that links to this bus with its PCI I/O and PCI Memory bases and limits,

  • Turns on bridging of PCI I/O and PCI Memory accesses in the PCI-PCI Bridge. This means that if any PCI I/O or PCI Memory addresses seen on the Bridge’s primary PCI bus that are within its PCI I/O and PCI Memory address windows will be bridged onto its secondary PCI bus.

Taking the PCI system in the figure above as our example the PCI Fixup code would set up the system in the following way:

Align the PCI bases
PCI I/O is 0x4000 and PCI Memory is 0x100000. This allows the PCI-ISA bridges to translate all addresses below these into ISA address cycles,
The Video Device
This is asking for 0x200000 of PCI Memory and so we allocate it that amount starting at the current PCI Memory base of 0x200000 as it has to be naturally aligned to the size requested. The PCI Memory base is moved to 0x400000 and the PCI I/O base remains at 0x4000.
The PCI-PCI Bridge
We now cross the PCI-PCI Bridge and allocate PCI memory there, note that we do not need to align the bases as they are already correctly aligned:
The Ethernet Device
This is asking for 0xB0 bytes of both PCI I/O and PCI Memory space. It gets allocated PCI I/O at 0x4000 and PCI Memory at 0x400000. The PCI Memory base is moved to 0x4000B0 and the PCI I/O base to 0x40B0.
The SCSI Device
This is asking for 0x1000 PCI Memory and so it is allocated it at 0x401000 after it has been naturally aligned. The PCI I/O base is still 0x40B0 and the PCI Memory base has been moved to 0x402000.
The PCI-PCI Bridge’s PCI I/O and Memory Windows
We now return to the bridge and set its PCI I/O window at between 0x4000 and 0x40B0 and it’s PCI Memory window at between 0x400000 and 0x402000. This means that the PCI-PCI Bridge will ignore the PCI Memory accesses for the video device and pass them on if they are for the ethernet or SCSI devices.