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Thread: Hard Disk Mass

  1. #1 Hard Disk Mass 
    Forum Freshman Rye Rye's Avatar
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    This is just a hypothetical inquiry.

    Assuming that one has a hard disk of X mass, on which there is zero information written, if 100G of information is then downloaded to said hard disk, is there ANY net gain in the overall mass of the drive?

    In other words, does the 100G of informaion occupy any substantial volume in space; is the bit in fact an object subject to the Dynamical Laws of physics?

    If so, what are the physical properties.

    If not, hmmm... the Zeroth Law then?

    Thanks in advanace for any input.

    Cheers,

    Rye Rye


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  3. #2  
    Forum Sophomore Pikkhaud's Avatar
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    I wouldn't think so.


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  4. #3  
    The Doctor Quantime's Avatar
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    Since 1's and 0's are electrons, rather sorry 1's are (an electron is here, yes=1). If a hard drive has 100GB then it has a lot of 1'a. Add all those ones and multiply by the mass of an electron and hey presto, a full hard drive vs empty hard drive, the full hard drive will have more weight.
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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  5. #4  
    Forum Masters Degree SuperNatendo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by svwillmer
    Since 1's and 0's are electrons, rather sorry 1's are (an electron is here, yes=1). If a hard drive has 100GB then it has a lot of 1'a. Add all those ones and multiply by the mass of an electron and hey presto, a full hard drive vs empty hard drive, the full hard drive will have more weight.
    If that were the way hard drives worked, you could put hundreds of Yottabytes on one Hard Disk!!!

    The thing is, a hard drive does not read whether or not individual electrons are in the drive, parts of it are simply magnetized and demagnetized. The read/write head magnetizes and demagnetizes tiny portions of the metal disk to store the "1"s and "0"s. The closer together on the metallic disk you can place these "1"s and "0"s the more "space" you can use. This is why magnets kill Hard Drives.

    Also, a processor does not "Hold" the ones or zeroes, rather it uses triodes aka transistors that act as switches. When current is flowing through the switch it completes a circuit, that is a "1", when current is being blocked by the switch the circuit is open and that is "0"

    At NO time is a single electron registering as a "1" when it comes to the computers in use today. If we discover a way to do just that then computers would be amazingly fast and could hold pretty much limitless amounts of data.
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  6. #5  
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    Technically speaking, they still gain weight. Just a VERY small amount.
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  7. #6  
    Forum Masters Degree SuperNatendo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremyhfht
    Technically speaking, they still gain weight. Just a VERY small amount.
    in the end, even if hard drives worked by holding actual electrons in place, you are going to gain more weight from dust particles resting on top of the hard drive than you are from electrons!

    the 1's and 0's are not a representation of an actual "particle". I think I saw someone in the physics thread reply in the way that if ones were heads and zeros were tails on a bunch of quarters, when you change a zero to a one you are not adding a quarter you are just changing its sides.
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  8. #7  
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    Remember the old IBM punch cards? You added data by subtracting weight.
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  9. #8  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    i don't think there's any weight gain : the binary 1s and 0s are just different states of the same object, not the presence/absence of a particle

    so this means that the particle and its mass is always there, it's just our interpretation (e.g. comparison with a reference state) that makes its state into a 0 or a 1
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  10. #9  
    Forum Freshman Rye Rye's Avatar
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    im not so much concerned about there being any weight gain. Im wondering about any mass.

    From what i have read, i gather that the information encoded onto a magnetic surface, can result in either a net gain or even a net loss of mass, regardless of the amount of information stored.

    am i correct in assuming, thus, that the 'bit' is simply the charge (spin) of already given electrons? Or is it simply repositioning electrons throught sectors of the disk?

    thanks
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  11. #10  
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    How do you imagine you would add mass without weight? Where are you reading this? You are not correct in your assumption, charge is not spin, and it doesn't reposition electrons. Read the Wikipedia article on "hard disk drive" to see how it works.
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  12. #11 Re: Hard Disk Mass 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rye Rye
    This is just a hypothetical inquiry.

    Assuming that one has a hard disk of X mass, on which there is zero information written, if 100G of information is then downloaded to said hard disk, is there ANY net gain in the overall mass of the drive?
    no.
    bits are stored as magnetic fields.
    a field in one direction is a 1, in the opposite direction a 0.
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  13. #12  
    Forum Professor leohopkins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pikkhaud
    I wouldn't think so.
    WHAT !?!?!?

    NO DUDE NO !!!!!!

    The disc weighs the same, its just that the magnetic particles on it (which were there before) are aligned in a different way. Thats all !
    The hand of time rested on the half-hour mark, and all along that old front line of the English there came a whistling and a crying. The men of the first wave climbed up the parapets, in tumult, darkness, and the presence of death, and having done with all pleasant things, advanced across No Man's Land to begin the Battle of the Somme. - Poet John Masefield.

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  14. #13  
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    Now here is the authorative reply - NO - no gain in weight since it is down to the alighnment of the magnetic domains which are already part of the drive's mass. electrons are shoved around but return to a net charge of zero at switch off.
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  15. #14  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
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    In quantum mechanics terms, does the addition of information to the HD and the resultant decrease in entropy not actually increase the mass of the HD?
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    In quantum mechanics terms, does the addition of information to the HD and the resultant decrease in entropy not actually increase the mass of the HD?
    Like I burden you with something and that's a weight off my mind?
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  17. #16  
    Forum Masters Degree SuperNatendo's Avatar
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    Rearrangeing magnetic fields does nothing to slow entropy, the metallic disk is still decaying slowly.
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  18. #17  
    Forum Professor leohopkins's Avatar
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    as we all are :?
    The hand of time rested on the half-hour mark, and all along that old front line of the English there came a whistling and a crying. The men of the first wave climbed up the parapets, in tumult, darkness, and the presence of death, and having done with all pleasant things, advanced across No Man's Land to begin the Battle of the Somme. - Poet John Masefield.

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  19. #18  
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    You decrepit old git speak for yourself!
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