cudaError_t cudaMallocHost ( void **  ptr,
size_t  size,
unsigned int  flags 

Allocates size bytes of host memory that is page-locked and accessible to the device. The driver tracks the virtual memory ranges allocated with this function and automatically accelerates calls to functions such as cudaMemcpy(). Since the memory can be accessed directly by the device, it can be read or written with much higher bandwidth than pageable memory obtained with functions such as malloc(). Allocating excessive amounts of pinned memory may degrade system performance, since it reduces the amount of memory available to the system for paging. As a result, this function is best used sparingly to allocate staging areas for data exchange between host and device.

The flags parameter enables different options to be specified that affect the allocation, as follows.

  • cudaHostAllocDefault: This flag's value is defined to be 0.
  • cudaHostAllocPortable: The memory returned by this call will be considered as pinned memory by all CUDA contexts, not just the one that performed the allocation.
  • cudaHostAllocMapped: Maps the allocation into the CUDA address space. The device pointer to the memory may be obtained by calling cudaHostGetDevicePointer().
  • cudaHostAllocWriteCombined: Allocates the memory as write-combined (WC). WC memory can be transferred across the PCI Express bus more quickly on some system configurations, but cannot be read efficiently by most CPUs. WC memory is a good option for buffers that will be written by the CPU and read by the device via mapped pinned memory or host->device transfers.

All of these flags are orthogonal to one another: a developer may allocate memory that is portable, mapped and/or write-combined with no restrictions.

cudaSetDeviceFlags() must have been called with the cudaDeviceMapHost flag in order for the cudaHostAllocMapped flag to have any effect.

The cudaHostAllocMapped flag may be specified on CUDA contexts for devices that do not support mapped pinned memory. The failure is deferred to cudaHostGetDevicePointer() because the memory may be mapped into other CUDA contexts via the cudaHostAllocPortable flag.

Memory allocated by this function must be freed with cudaFreeHost().

ptr - Device pointer to allocated memory
size - Requested allocation size in bytes
flags - Requested properties of allocated memory
cudaSuccess, cudaErrorMemoryAllocation
Note that this function may also return error codes from previous, asynchronous launches.
See also:
cudaSetDeviceFlags, cudaMallocHost (C API), cudaFreeHost, cudaHostAlloc

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