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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary
base memory
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hardware, jargon The lowest 640 kilobytes of memory in an
IBM PC-compatible computer running MS-DOS. Other PC
operating systems can usually compensate and "ignore" the
fact that there is a 640K limit to base memory. This was put
in place because the original CPU - the Intel 8088 - could
only access one megabyte of memory, and IBM wanted to
reserve the upper 384KB for device drivers. The highmemory area (HMA) lies above 640KB and can be accessed on
MS-DOS computers that have an A20 handler.