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A computer’s memory management unit (MMU) is the physical hardware that handles its virtual memory and caching operations. The MMU is usually located within the computer’s central processing unit (CPU), but sometimes operates in a separate integrated chip (IC). All data request inputs are sent to the MMU, which in turn determines whether the data needs to be retrieved from RAM or ROM storage.
A memory management unit is also known as a paged memory management unit.
The memory management unit performs three major functions:
Hardware memory management deals with a system's RAM and cache memory, OS memory management regulates resources among objects and data structures, and application memory management allocates and optimizes memory among programs.
The MMU also includes a section of memory that holds a table that matches virtual addresses to physical addresses, called the translation lookaside buffer (TLB).