Note OpenPOWER v3.1B p12:

 The designated SPR sandbox consists of non-privileged SPRs
 704-719 and privileged SPRs 720-735.

There are five SPRs, available in any privilege level:

  • MVL (the Maximum Vector Length)
  • VL (which has different characteristics from standard SPRs)
  • SUBVL (effectively a kind of SIMD)
  • STATE (containing copies of MVL, VL and SUBVL as well as context information)
  • SVSRR0 which is used for exceptions and traps to store SVSTATE.

MVL, VL and SUBVL are only provided for convenience: normally setvl would be used to obtain a copy of VL, for example.

For Privilege Levels (trap handling) there are the following SPRs, where x may be u, s or h for User, Supervisor or Hypervisor Modes respectively:

  • (x)eSTATE (useful for saving and restoring during context switch, and for providing fast transitions)

The u/s SPRs are treated and handled exactly like their (x)epc equivalents. On entry to or exit from a privilege level, the contents of its (x)eSTATE are swapped with STATE.


MAXVECTORLENGTH is the same concept as MVL in RVV, except that it is variable length and may be dynamically set. MVL is however limited to the regfile bitwidth, 64.

Vector Length (VL)

VSETVL is slightly different from RVV. Similar to RVV, VL is set to be within the range 0 <= VL <= MVL (where MVL in turn is limited to 1 <= MVL <= XLEN)

VL = rd = MIN(vlen, MVL)

where 1 <= MVL <= XLEN

SUBVL - Sub Vector Length

This is a "group by quantity" that effectively asks each iteration of the hardware loop to load SUBVL elements of width elwidth at a time. Effectively, SUBVL is like a SIMD multiplier: instead of just 1 operation issued, SUBVL operations are issued.

The main effect of SUBVL is that predication bits are applied per group, rather than by individual element. Legal values are 1 to 4. Illegal values raise an exception.


This is a standard SPR that contains sufficient information for a full context save/restore (see SVSRR0). It contains (and permits setting of):

  • MVL
  • VL
  • dststep - the destination element offset of the current parallel instruction being executed
  • srcstep - for twin-predication, the source element offset as well.
  • svstep - the subvector element offset of the current parallel instruction being executed

The format of the STATE SPR is as follows:

Field Name Description
0:6 maxvl Max Vector Length
7:13 vl Vector Length
14:20 srcstep for srcstep = 0..VL-1
21:27 dststep for dststep = 0..VL-1
28:29 subvl Sub-vector length
30:31 svstep for svstep = 0..SUBVL-1

The relationship between SUBVL and the subvl field is:

SUBVL (29..28)
1 0b00
2 0b01
3 0b10
4 0b11


  • The entries are truncated to be within range. Attempts to set VL to greater than MAXVL will truncate VL.
  • Setting srcstep, dststep to 64 or greater, or VL or MVL to greater than 64 is reserved and will cause an illegal instruction trap.


In scalar v3.0B traps, exceptions and interrupts, two SRRs are saved/restored:

  • SRR0 to store the PC (CIA/NIA)
  • SRR1 to store a copy of the MSR

Given that SVSTATE is effectively a Sub-PC it is critically important to add saving/restoring of SVSTATE as a full peer equal in status to PC, in every way. At any time PC is saved or restored, so is SVSTATE in exactly the same way for exactly the same reasons.

The SPR name given for the purposes of saving/restoring SVSTATE is SVSRR0.