[dpdk-dev] rte_prefetch0() is effective?

Matthew Hall mhall at mhcomputing.net
Wed Jan 13 18:29:46 CET 2016

On Wed, Jan 13, 2016 at 11:34:33AM +0000, Bruce Richardson wrote:
> When the first example apps using this style of prefetch were originally 
> written, yes, there was a noticable performance increase achieved by using 
> the prefetch. Thereafter, I'm not sure that anyone has checked with each 
> generation of platforms whether the prefetches are still necessary and how 
> much they help, but I suspect that they still help a bit, and don't hurt 
> performance.

FYI, for me as a community member this paragraph describes one of my top 
irritations about DPDK.

The Intel accelerations, such as adding prefetches, or support for new 
features like the librte_power, are treated as one-off projects not as ongoing 
technical efforts which need periodic retesting and maintenance. Thus it 
turned out that after waiting over a month for a reply, I eventually 
discovered librte_power probably never worked right at all since at least 
Sandy Bridge, which is a very old chip by now for servers.

The accelerations are also treated like black magic. Meaning no comments are 
put in the code about how and why they work, so an outsider trying his best to 
measure things in VTune to help provide the ongoing testing and maintenance, 
can not tell why something was done or how it might be adjusted to work right 
in their environment if their hardware is older or newer than whatever 
undocumented hardware was used in developing the example. There's nowhere I 
know of that says the reference platform and core generation used for 
developing an example either so I could get some idea if it's current or old 

When I ask a high level question, such as "Which Intel accelerations should 
one make sure are enabled to get best performance?" it normally doesn't get 
any reply. This makes life difficult because there are many dozen 
accelerations listed in the data sheet of a typical modern Intel core and no 
guidance is provided on the priority of the different accelerations for DPDK. 
So I don't have a good idea about where to focus my time to get the best 
acceleration out of all the technology it must have cost Intel millions or 
billions to create. To me that's very sad.

I am hoping maybe there are some resources we could make available to help 
understand the principles behind the accelerations so it is easier for the 
community to take part in maintaining them and maybe even helping create new 

Note: I read through all the subchapters here:


None of them mention any CPU acceleration details whatsoever.

They don't explain any specifics on prefetch or branch prediction. Only that 
they exist and do things.


More information about the dev mailing list