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SubjectRe: [PATCH] x86/smpboot: Remove 486-isms from the modern AP boot path
On Wed, 1 Apr 2020, Andrew Cooper wrote:

> > Even though we supported them by spec I believe we never actually ran MP
> > on any 486 SMP system (Alan Cox might be able to straighten me out on
> > this); none that I know of implemented the MPS even though actual hardware
> > might have used the APIC architecture. Compaq had its competing solution
> > for 486 and newer SMP, actually deployed, the name of which I long forgot.
> > We never supported it due to the lack of documentation combined with the
> > lack of enough incentive for someone to reverse-engineer it.
> :)
> I chose "486-ism" based on what the MP spec said about external vs
> integrated Local APICs.  I can't claim to have any experience of those days.

The spec is quite clear about the use of discrete APICs actually:

"5.1 Discrete APIC Configurations

" Figure 5-1 shows the default configuration for systems that use the
discrete 82489 APIC. The Intel486 processor is shown as an example;
however, this configuration can also employ Pentium processors. In
Pentium processor systems, PRST is connected to INIT instead of to

:) And if in the way the internal local APIC in P54C processors can be
permanently disabled (causing it not to be reported in CPUID flags) via a
reset strap, e.g. to support an unusual configuration.

As I recall the integrated APIC would in principle support SMP configs
beyond dual (the inter-APIC bus was serial at the time and supported 15
APIC IDs with the P54C), but at the time the P54C processor was released
the only compatible I/O APICs were available as a part of Intel PCI south
bridges (the 82375EB/SB ESC and the 82379AB SIO.A). Those chips were not
necessarily compatible with whatever custom chipset was developed to
support e.g. a quad-SMP P54C system. Or there were political reasons
preventing them from being used.

Then the 82489DX used an incompatible protocol (supporting 254 APIC IDs
among others, and as I recall the serial bus had a different number of
wires even), so it couldn't be mixed with integrated local APICs. That's
why discrete APICs were sometimes used even with P54C processors.

And the 82093AA standalone I/O APIC was only introduced a few years
later, along with the Intel HX (Triton II) SMP chipset. I still have a
nice working machine equipped with this chipset and dual P55C processors
@233MHz. Even the original CPU fans are going strong. :) Its MP table is
however buggy and difficult to work with if the I/O APIC is to be used,
especially if PCI-PCI bridges are involved (there's none onboard, but you
can have these easily in multiple quantities on option cards nowadays).


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