Extended Paging

Starting with the Pentium model, 80 x 86 microprocessors introduce extended paging, which allows page frames to be 4 MB instead of 4 KB in size (see Figure 2-7).

Figure 2-7. Extended paging

Figure 2-7. Extended paging

As mentioned in the previous section, extended paging is enabled by setting the Page Size flag of a Page Directory entry. In this case, the paging unit divides the 32 bits of a linear address into two fields:

Directory

The most significant 10 bits

Offset

The remaining 22 bits

Page Directory entries for extended paging are the same as for normal paging, except that:

• Only the 10 most significant bits of the 20-bit physical address field are significant. This is because each physical address is aligned on a 4-MB boundary, so the 22 least significant bits of the address are 0.

Extended paging coexists with regular paging; it is enabled by setting the PSE flag of the cr4 processor register. Extended paging is used to translate large contiguous linear address ranges into corresponding physical ones; in these cases, the kernel can do without intermediate Page Tables and thus save memory and preserve TLB entries (see Section 2.4.8).

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