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I am interested in running bitcoin core to help support the network and also get more involved in bitcoin. I read the minimum requirements here that say:

Desktop or laptop hardware running recent versions of Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux.

350 gigabytes of free disk space, accessible at a minimum read/write speed of 100 MB/s.

2 gigabytes of memory (RAM)

A broadband Internet connection with upload speeds of at least 400 kilobits (50 kilobytes) per second

An unmetered connection, a connection with high upload limits, or a connection you regularly monitor to ensure it doesn’t exceed its upload limits. It’s common for full nodes on high-speed connections to use 200 gigabytes upload or more a month. Download usage is around 20 gigabytes a month, plus around an additional 340 gigabytes the first time you start your node.

6 hours a day that your full node can be left running. (You can do other things with your computer while running a full node.) More hours would be better, and best of all would be if you can run your node continuously.

As I suspected, my current machine (MacBook Air, lol) is not going to work. It looks like I only have 61 gigs of 120 available disk space. Although I have some programming experience, I really don't know a lot about computers. I think I would like to get something a little more powerful, so I can run bitcoin core and also some other projects that require a better machine. I honestly don't even know how to check the read/write speed (processor?) or what an unmetered connection is. Does anyone have advice for shopping for a machine that can meet these requirements? Does not need to be a mac.

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As I suspected, my current machine (MacBook Air, lol) is not going to work.

That really depends on what model you're talking about. Modern Macbook Airs are definitely powerful enough.

It looks like I only have 61 gigs of 120 available disk space.

That's more than enough for running Bitcoin Core in pruned mode.

When pruning is enabled, old blocks are deleted from disk a while after they've been verified. This disables some functionality, but is equally secure - everything is still fully validated, just not kept forever. It doesn't interfere with normal functions.

I honestly don't even know how to check the read/write speed.

It's the speed of the disk. All new disks can do more 100 MB/sec, but for initial synchronization (the time your node needs to validate all of history) an SSD will be a lot faster than a spinning hard drive. Don't use an external drive connected through USB - such hardware is not designed for the kind of heavy database load Bitcoin Core causes.

an unmetered connection

That just means you want to make sure you don't pay per megabyte for your internet connection. Bitcoin Core will be downloading several 100 GBs of data from peers (all old blocks), so if you have to pay for that, you may want to reconsider.

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  • So just out of curiosity, if I was running bitcoin core in pruned mode how would my node validate transactions? One of the checks for tx validations is to confirm that the inputs are UTXO’s but I feel like you would need the full blockchain to query the UTXO set? – Prince M Mar 14 at 18:28
  • Bitcoin Core maintains a database with just the set of unspent outputs, separate from the actual blocks, since version 0.8 (Feb 2013). The UTXO set is only ~4.2 GB on disk right now. – Pieter Wuille Mar 14 at 18:31
  • Oh, ok! In brief can you tell me what functions a full node is capable of doing that a pruned node will not? – Prince M Mar 15 at 4:15
  • Anything that involves access to old blocks; in particular (a) feeding new nodes that are synchronizing from scratch and (b) recanning for wallet transactions. If you just create a new wallet, there is no problem, as its birthdate is past the pruning point (now), but if you'd restore an old wallet backup that hasn't "seen" the chain before the pruning point, you have a problem (you can always resync of course). – Pieter Wuille Mar 15 at 4:43
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    The wallet keeps its own copy of all transactions relevant to it, it doesn't need the UTXO set. But it does need to see every block at least once, to find relevant transactions. If your wallet has been offline while you prune blocks it hasn't seen yet, it'll abort with an error telling you to resync. You're right that in theory it could compute your balance regardless, but this isn't how it works in Bitcoin Core's current implementation. – Pieter Wuille Mar 15 at 5:30

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