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I need to be able to verify messages and check that funds in wallets are valid and that the claimed owner possesses the private keys (hence checking messages signed).

I know that I need to be able to download and sync the whole blockchain so I will be getting at least a 1TB HDD.

Are there any other things that would be really needed to run it smoothly? I was thinking of a laptop with an i7-6700HQ processor and 16GB of ram.

Will this cut it?

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You can just use the pruning, which lowers the required storage size to 550 MB. Other than that, you don't need a strong computer. It can run on a Raspberry Pi 3 B+ without any problems (but it won't be able to keep a full mempool).

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Yes that laptop will work. Realistically it could be run on an i3 with 4GB of ram, provided the storage is enough.

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It runs without problems on my old laptop - i7-4712MQ with 8gb ram. I guess it will run even on i3 with 4gb ram, but I haven't tried it. The disk space is important. The chain is around 200gb and will increase.

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