[Mesa-dev] Batchbuffer question

Kenneth Graunke kenneth at whitecape.org
Fri Nov 8 13:38:36 PST 2013

On 11/08/2013 04:49 AM, Rogovin, Kevin wrote:
> Hi all,
> As I was poking into the magicks for the batchbuffer, I saw the
> following logical bits of code, that make sense by themselves but get
> me paranoid together. Firstly in intel_batchbuffer_begin() [
> intel_batchbuffer.h, and this is what BEGIN_BATCH maps to] there is a
> intel_batchbuffer_require_space() call that if too much room is
> needed then calls intel_batchbuffer_begin():
> from intel_batchbuffer_require_space():
>   115    if (intel_batchbuffer_space(brw) < sz)
>   116       intel_batchbuffer_flush(brw);
> and from intel_batchbuffer_space():
>    80 intel_batchbuffer_space(struct brw_context *brw)
>    81 {
>    82    return (brw->batch.state_batch_offset - brw->batch.reserved_space)
>    83       - brw->batch.used*4;
>    84 }
> Now, for allocating space for state, there is brw_state_batch():
>   128    offset = ROUND_DOWN_TO(batch->state_batch_offset - size, alignment);
>   129
>   130    /* If allocating from the top would wrap below the batchbuffer, or
>   131     * if the batch's used space (plus the reserved pad) collides with our
>   132     * space, then flush and try again.
>   133     */
>   134    if (batch->state_batch_offset < size ||
>   135        offset < 4*batch->used + batch->reserved_space) {
>   136       intel_batchbuffer_flush(brw);
>   137       offset = ROUND_DOWN_TO(batch->state_batch_offset - size, alignment);
>   138    }
> These taken together, I interpret as meaning that state and commands
> try to be separated by atleast batch->reserved_space bytes. I guess
> state could take up more than (batch->bo->size -
> batch->reserved_space) from that second ROUND_DOWN_TO, but that would
> only happen right after a flush and any state or command afterwards
> would flush too.
> Now my questions: 1) it looks like the reserved space is not to be
> used for either state or commands. Is that correct? What is it used
> for?

To explain a bit more...we store commands (like 3DSTATE_VS) and indirect
state (like BLEND_STATE) in the same buffer (the batchbuffer).

We emit commands starting at the top of the buffer, since they need to
be in order.  Indirect state is always pointed to by a command (i.e.
3DSTATE_BLEND_STATE_POINTERS), so it can be in any order.  We fill
indirect state backwards, starting from the end of the buffer.

Should they meet in the middle, we flush the batch and start a new one.

It's sort of like how the stack and heap start at opposite sides and
grow towards each other.

When we finish a batch, we need to append a few final commands.  These
use the reserved space.  From intel_batchbuffer.c:

   brw->batch.reserved_space = 0;


   /* Mark the end of the buffer. */
   intel_batchbuffer_emit_dword(brw, MI_BATCH_BUFFER_END);
   if (brw->batch.used & 1) {
      /* Round batchbuffer usage to 2 DWORDs. */
      intel_batchbuffer_emit_dword(brw, MI_NOOP);

MI_BATCH_BUFFER_END is fairly self-explanatory, but there are others.
On Gen4-5, we need to take a snapshot of the PS_DEPTH_COUNT register in
order to make occlusion queries, so there's a PIPE_CONTROL.  With my
upcoming performance monitor changes, we also need to take snapshots of
the observability architecture counters as well, so there will be an

See the comments above the BATCH_RESERVED #define, which list all the
things we might emit.

Note that, prior to emitting this state, we set
brw->batch.reserved_space to 0, which makes that space available for
these final commands.  So we'll always have space and never try to flush
in the middle of flushing.

> 2) if a function first calls brw_state_batch() to place state and it
> barely fits and then calls BEGIN_BATCH that does not fit, then the
> command will refer to an offset on the previous batch buffer, that
> cannot be good. Or does this never happen for other reasons? If so
> what are those reasons?

Leaving additional indirect state in the buffer is harmless.  We do need
to remove commands.

OpenGL draw calls involve emitting a bunch of commands, finishing with a
3DPRIMITIVE command.  Prior to emitting anything, we call:


which saves batch->used and the current number of relocations.  If we
run out of space before emitting the 3DPRIMITIVE, we call:


which resets the batch->used to the saved value, effectively throwing
away those commands.  It also calls into libdrm to throw away the extra

Hope this helps!


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