The PCI address domain consists of three distinct address spaces: configuration, memory, and I/O space.
Configuration space is defined geographically. The location of a peripheral device is determined by its physical location within an interconnected tree of PCI bus bridges. A device is located by its bus number and device (slot) number. Each peripheral device contains a set of well-defined configuration registers in its PCI configuration space. The registers are used not only to identify devices but also to supply device configuration information to the configuration framework. For example, base address registers in the device configuration space must be mapped before a device can respond to data access.
The method for generating configuration cycles is host dependent. In x86 machines, special I/O ports are used. On other platforms, the PCI configuration space can be memory-mapped to certain address locations corresponding to the PCI host bridge in the host address domain. When a device configuration register is accessed by the processor, the request is routed to the PCI host bridge. The bridge then translates the access into proper configuration cycles on the bus.
The PCI configuration space consists of up to six 32-bit base address registers for each device. These registers provide both size and data type information. System firmware assigns base addresses in the PCI address domain to these registers.
Each addressable region can be either memory or I/O space. The value contained in bit 0 of the base address register identifies the type. A value of 0 in bit 0 indicates a memory space and a value of 1 indicates an I/O space. The following figure shows two base address registers: one for memory and the other for I/O types.
PCI supports both 32-bit and 64-bit addresses for memory space. System firmware assigns regions of memory space in the PCI address domain to PCI peripherals. The base address of a region is stored in the base address register of the device's PCI configuration space. The size of each region must be a power of two, and the assigned base address must be aligned on a boundary equal to the size of the region. Device addresses in memory space are memory-mapped into the host address domain so that data access to any device can be performed by the processor's native load or store instructions.
PCI supports 32-bit I/O space. I/O space can be accessed differently on different platforms. Processors with special I/O instructions, like the Intel processor family, access the I/O space with in and out instructions. Machines without special I/O instructions will map to the address locations corresponding to the PCI host bridge in the host address domain. When the processor accesses the memory-mapped addresses, an I/O request will be sent to the PCI host bridge, which then translates the addresses into I/O cycles and puts them on the PCI bus. Memory-mapped I/O is performed by the native load/store instructions of the processor.
Hardware configuration files should be unnecessary for PCI local bus devices. However, on some occasions drivers for PCI devices need to use hardware configuration files to augment the driver private information. See the driver.conf(4) and pci(4) man pages for further details.