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Computer Basics - How RAM is allocated/deallocated/managed?

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I've been wondering this for quite a while, and still haven't really figured it out... I'm wondering, how exactly does memory allocation / deallocation work on the RAM? What happens when memory is allocated? Does it set up some sort of boundary? And for deallocation, does it simply 'take down' the boundary? Does the OS handle it, or does the CPU (or machine, or whatever it is) handle the allocations? Does anyone have any good, somewhat easy-to-understand material on this? I've looked around on Wikipedia some, but I haven't found something pertaining to this precisely... The reason I'm asking is because I've been programming in C++ for around 1.5 years, and I've always wanted to know the specifics of what was going on in the background. </n00b> EDIT: Well, I've a new question: Is there also any good articles that explain in depth how computers carry out basic operations (int + floating pt add, sub, mult, div, etc)? If it gets really machine-specific, then I'd just like to know how x86 machines do it (or however you would classify them). Curiosity with ignorance. A grand couple.

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I assume you want to know about this at a low level. Do you know what virtual memory is? If not, that's the place to start.

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Thanks for the help!

Now all that concerns me is finding the time to read all of this... Hoping this will help me in programming.

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