So if you have an empty memory card compared to one which is full with say 64GB of data (or any other large amount). If you weighed them both on an incredibly sensitive scales, would there be a difference in the weight?
Essentially I’m asking does data/computer memory have any mass?
No. Storage is just flipping bits to 1 or 0. Think of it as a light switch, it weighs the same regardless of the position of the switch.
Technically, yes. Computer memory works by storing electrons: if a memory bit has electrons, then it’s a 1; and if it has no electrons, then it’s a 0. [Electrons have mass](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electron_mass), and so every bit that’s flipped to 1 by storing electrons will add mass to the memory. However, we’re talking *minuscule* amount of mass, 9.109 x 10^-31 kg per electron, which is so small that even with several billion electrons stored, a human would not be able to tell a difference by picking up the full memory, and it would take an extraordinarily precise scale to detect the difference in weight.
So, technically yes, but for practical purposes, no.
Does finished puzzle weight more than same puzzle pieces in a pile?
Yes, but only technically. Flash memory works by depositing electrons on ‘floating gates’, which would increase the weight by a very tiny amount. However that doesn’t mean data has mass. I mean, think about it. Whether the drive is full or empty it has the same amount of data. ten trillion ones is the same amount of data as ten trillion zeros, when represented individually. Same for any combination. You could create a protocol that uses a *lack* electrons to note a one and the presence of electrons to note a zero, which would mean that writing data to ta disk of all 0’s would cause its weight to *decrease.*
Edit: I’ve been told that flash memory actually does use a charge to represent zero and no charge to represent a one. Neat.
No, not appreciably.
Think of a memory chip as a bunch of levers on a wall. You can raise and lower levers to encode information, but you’re not really changing the mass of the levers, just whether they’re switched on or off.
Due to the fact that the “levers” in this metaphor are transistors, which are switches that are opened and closed using an electrical current (and the thing they’re switching on and off is an electrical circuit) there is a slight increase in mass due to the flow of electrons when the circuit is on. However, this would be like saying the switches in my metaphor became more massive because your hand deposits some oil on the handle. It’s technically correct but kind of missing the point.