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Quick Interrupts

by Michael Sinz

    [Editor's note: This article was written from the
    programmer's perspective, and doesn't discuss any of
    the hardware issues.  See the ``Appendix K: Zorro
    Expansion Bus'' section of the third edition of the
    Amiga Hardware Reference Manual for more information.]

One of the features of the Zorro III bus is the Quick Interrupt, also
known as the vectored interrupt.  This feature allows Zorro III
hardware to supply a vector number to the system when an interrupt
occurs.  The system uses this vector number to go directly to an
interrupt routine.

Conventional Amiga Interrupts

The Amiga handles normal interrupts from Zorro II cards using an
interrupt server chain.  There are two interrupts available from the
Zorro II bus, the PORTS and EXTER interrupt server chains.  If a driver
for a Zorro II card needs to use an interrupt, it adds an interrupt
routine to the appropriate chain.  When the interrupt occurs, Exec
calls each routine in the interrupt chain, which are sorted in priority
order.  Exec continues until it finds the routine that corresponds to
the device that triggered the interrupt.

The server chain allows several routines to share a single interrupt.
This means that several devices trigger the same interrupt, so each
interrupt routine must do some processing to determine if its card
triggered the interrupt or if some other source caused the interrupt.
For example, an interrupt routine might examine a register on its card
to determine that the card triggered the interrupt.

Although this scheme allows unrelated pieces of software to easily
share an interrupt, it can make the interrupt overhead rather high.
These two interrupt server chains also handle interrupts from the CIA
chips, which are used to trigger a variety of events.  As a result,
these server chains can contain a multitude of interrupt routines.

Consider what happens when a Zorro II card generates a PORTS interrupt.
Exec has to perform some set up and then step through the PORTS server
chain.  Exec calls each interrupt routine in priority order looking for
the routine that services this interrupt.  If there are 20 interrupt
routines of higher priority than the card's interrupt routine in the
server chain, Exec has to call 20 other routines before it gets to the
correct routine.

Zorro III Quick Interrupts

Quick interrupts avoid the overhead involved in Exec's interrupt server
chains.  Exec only helps set up the quick interrupt, which it does via
the exec.library function ObtainQuickVector() (see the Autodoc at the
end of this article).  Once Exec has set up the quick interrupt
routine, it does not intervene.  Unlike conventional Amiga interrupt
routines, which are called as subroutines from Exec's main interrupt
code, the Amiga jumps directly to the quick interrupt routine using a
private vector.  This behavior requires quick interrupt routines to
take some special precautions.

There are two important differences between a conventional Amiga
interrupt routine and a quick quick interrupt routine.  A quick
interrupt routine must save and restore all of the registers it
changes, including D0, D1, A0, and A1.  It must do this because, unlike
regular interrupt routines, Exec doesn't do it for you.  Also, a quick
interrupt routine ends with a RTE (return from exception) instruction.

If your quick interrupt routine is 100% self-contained and does not
access any operating system structures or routines, then the work is
rather simple.  Just save the registers you use, perform your interrupt
processing, restore the registers, and end with an RTE.  If, however,
the routine needs to call the OS or use an OS structure, it must check
if the interrupt has been delayed.  This is necessary in case the
interrupt hit the CPU just after the CPU had told the hardware to hold
off interrupts (see the Autodoc for ObtainQuickVector() to find out how
to perform this test).

As the Amiga OS is a dynamic operating system, quick interrupts are
allocated by the OS.  If your hardware/software wants to use a quick
interrupt, it must allocate a vector with ObtainQuickVector().  This
routine accepts a pointer to the quick interrupt code (not a pointer to
an Interrupt structure).  If Exec installed the vector,
ObtainQuickVector() returns the vector number.  When the quick
interrupt occurs, the Zorro III card sends this vector number to the
CPU, which tells the CPU where the interrupt code is.

ObtainQuickVector() returns 0 if there are no more vectors.  Since the
number of vectors is limited, any Zorro III device that uses quick
interrupts must be able to fall back to the Amiga's conventional
interrupt scheme.

The LVO for ObtainQuickVector() was added for V39, but it was not fully
implemented until after the initial release.  This means the OS that
currently ships with the Amiga 4000 and Amiga 1200, Release 3.00, will
always return 0 (no SetPatch currently exists to correct this, but a
future SetPatch may do so).  ObtainQuickVector() only works in the
developer releases of the OS that follwed the initial release.  Since a
Zorro III device driver must handle the case where it cannot obtain a
vector, this function should never cause a hardware product to fail.
There is no reliable way to obtain a vector before V39.

exec.library/ObtainQuickVector                 exec.library/ObtainQuickVector

        Function to obtain an install a Quick Interrupt vector            (V39)

        d0                       a0

        ULONG ObtainQuickVector(APTR);

        This function will install the code pointer into the quick interrupt
        vector it allocates and returns to you the interrupt vector that
        your Quick Interrupt system needs to use.

        This function may also return 0 if no vectors are available.  Your
        hardware should be able to then fall back to using the shared
        interrupt server chain should this happen.

        The interrupt code is a direct connect to the physical interrupt.
        This means that it is the responsibility of your code to do all
        of the context saving/restoring required by interrupt code.

        Also, due to the performance of the interrupt controller, you may
        need to also watch for "false" interrupts.  These are interrupts
        that come in just after a DISABLE.  The reason this happens is
        because the interrupt may have been posted before the DISABLE
        hardware access is completed.  For example:

        myInt:          move.l  d0,-(sp)        ; Save d0...
                        move.w  _intenar,d0     ; Get interrupt enable state
                        btst.l  #INTB_INTEN,d0  ; Check if pending disable
                        bne.s   realInt         ; If not, do real one...
        exitInt:        move.l  (sp)+,d0        ; Restore d0
                        rte                     ; Return from int...
        realInt:        ; Now do your int code...  d0 is already saved
                        ; ALL other registers need to be saved if needed
                        ; This includes a0/a1/d0/d1 as this is an interrupt
                        ; and not a function call...
                        bra.s   exitInt         ; Exit interrupt...

        If your interrupt will not play with system (OS) structures and your
        own structures are safe to play with you do not need to check for
        the disable.  It is only needed for when the system is in disable but
        that "one last interrupt" still got through.

        This function was not implemented fully until V39.  Due to a miscue
        it is not safe to call in V37 EXEC.  (Sorry)

        A pointer to your interrupt code.  This code is not an EXEC interrupt
        but is directly connected to the hardware interrupt.  Thus, the
        interrupt code must not modify any registers and must return via
        an RTE.

        The 8-bit vector number used for Zorro-III Quick Interrupts
        If it returns 0, no quick interrupt was allocatable.  The device
        should at this point switch to using the shared interrupt server


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