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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 gif 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.

David A. Rusling