nikaltipar nikaltipar - 3 years ago 73
C++ Question

Pointer returned by overloaded new is changed

I have come across a bizarre problem and I have created this simple program in order to demonstrate it. I know the code itself doesn't make much sense, but I would like to highlight something I don't understand.

#include <iostream>
using namespace std;

class tempClass{
float n;
~tempClass(){} //VERY IMPORTANT LINE
void* operator new[](size_t size);

void* tempClass::operator new[](size_t size){
tempClass* a;
a= ::new tempClass[2];
for (int i = 0; i < 2; i++)
a[i].n = i*10;
cout << a << endl;
return a;

int main(){
tempClass* a;
a = new tempClass[2];
cout << a << endl;
cout << a[0].n << endl;
return 0;

In the code, I have overloaded the operator new for the class that I have created. However, the behaviour of the function changes, depending on whether I include the destructor of the class or not. I have noticed, that if I don't include the destructor, everything works fine, whereas if I did, the returned value of the pointer
would be increased by
at all times. Therefore, in this example, the last
of the program will print
if I include the destructor and
if I don't, at all times. Why does this happen?

Answer Source

Array-new-expressions pass an unspecified amount of overhead to the allocation function (i.e. your operator new overload). This is to allow the implementation to record the number of array elements, so that destructors can be called on deletion.

If your implementation detects that the class doesn't need destructors to be called (because it is trivially destructible), it may choose to not require the same amount of overhead as it would otherwise.

The formal wording is 8.3.4[]p11:

When a new-expression calls an allocation function and that allocation has not been extended, the new- expression passes the amount of space requested to the allocation function as the first argument of type std::size_t. That argument shall be no less than the size of the object being created; it may be greater than the size of the object being created only if the object is an array. [...]

Note that the overhead is unspecified, so it could in principle be different at every call! (This is also the reason that placement-array-new is unusable.) However, the Itanium ABI that many implementations use is fairly specific in how the "array cookie" works, and matches your experience.

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