Which Laptop to Run a Node on?

My question is for those more familiar with laptops than myself (reasoning is below):

Do you have any laptop brand or model recommendations where they either meet or exceed the minimum requirements for running a Cardano node or can be upgraded to do so?

I currently live a lifestyle that is ever on the move and, as a result, I cannot have a tower and non-portable computer from which to run a full Cardano node. I want to increase my contribute to the network and to also explore the ability for someone to be able to support and be a part of the network while their moving all over the world. How easy or hard could it be? Is there anyone that has tried or is doing this?
I know the requirement of a good internet connection and understand that this could definitely not work. However it is something I want to experiment with and knowing the outcome could be very valuable in the future.

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All of the major brands are pretty decent you just need to be sure to comfortably meet the system requirements and be aware that these system requirements are usually increasing every so often.

You might also want to consider running the node on a machine in a set location (eg; your parent’s house or a cloud provider or …) and then have a relatively low spec-ed laptop that you can SSH into the server from.

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Thank for the information erikd! My plan is to go over and above the requirements so that I don’t have to upgrade it for ~2 years.

I could do that somewhere you’re right, but I’m more interested in testing the viability of a roving node for distributed networks. I think finding strong enough and consistent enough internet connections may eventually undo me but it depends how far out into the bush and back country I get.

I opted out of setting up a node, because i didn’t want to short change the people who had joined my pool by having downtime with a non-com internet hookup… missing blocks, and serving the community at lesser than can be expected.
you can run a pool from a cloud based server as i understand it… then it will never be down or lacking in i/o speeds.
you can monitor and keep your pool healthy from your laptop at that point for sure.
another way to partake in the cardano ecosystem is to simply install the DAEDALUS WALLET… which runs full node blockchain from your computer… it doesn’t take anything very heavy duty… just some internet, and big enough disk space… and you can stake your ADA to a pool you trust to run efficiently from there. It does help the ecosystem, and teaches about the project.

The OP did only say that they wanted to run a node, not necessarily a pool.

Reasons could be to want to have a database synchronisation of the blockchain to not have to rely on third-party API providers or to have the ability to use cardano-cli on the machine (which unfortunately does not have a possibility to use a remote node).

… and because it runs a full node exactly the questions of the OP regarding the specs of a laptop to run a node arise. You will also need that to run Daedalus, which continues to make Daedalus a less and less feasible choice for the average user.

I am sorry, but running Daedalus does not help the ecosystem. The work done by the node inside Daedalus is never provided to other nodes, it does not relay any transactions except for the few of the Daedalus user themselves.

And the light wallets are even more user-friendly, in my opinion. Personally, I only start Daedalus now, when I want to use the node inside for cardano-cli (since, up to now, I was too lazy to set up a node without the Daedalus UI around it). Just as a wallet app without other uses of the full node, I won’t deem it economical anymore to use Daedalus.

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Hello @Welshie-BOC

I run a node + Daedalus on my old gaming laptop from 2015. Asus ROG i7, 16 GB Ram. It’s very fast, If your node is updated it opens in ~10 minutes (assuming you update your node.)

Also, did some test minting on it and works just fine. You will need about 500GB HD to be sure it can last 2 years. I moved the node to HD from SSD and found no performance issues. I thought it would be slower, but it seems that the bottle neck in start up may be due to replaying the ledger, not hardware.

It does help since the node is part of Tx overflow. Also, having a full node has less risk to loose access to ADA and that always helps make the network a lot more secure.

100% do NOT run a public stake pool on main-net from laptop. You can just run stuff on test-net if you want to learn and it may be helpful occasionally if you report bugs.

Can you point me to where that is specified? I had the impression that nodes never remove transactions from their mempool unless they are either found in a block or become invalid. If that is the case, IO’s nodes would gain nothing in transmitting to all the Daedaluses, since they are only connected to IO’s nodes again and don’t dissiminate further.

Having a full node alone doesn’t get you very far if the network gets into trouble. You also need to know how to configure it. And that is even less documented for the node inside Daedalus than for a usual node.

Honestly, in the case of trouble, the functionality of the light wallets to choose a custom submit API endpoint seems much more helpful for the average user to me than the possibility to run a full node, which even pool operators have a hard time getting right, as we can witness here every day.

I am definitely not wanting to run a roving stake pool from a laptop that is just not a feasible option.
I am wanting to help support the network and hoping to start a stake pool in the future (when I find a permanent home I can set one up in) and learning to work with a node is going to be my starting point. Yes @HeptaSean I do want to look into using cardano-cli and then expanding myself from there into the other components that can be used on the network.
@Neo_Spank thanks for your insight on using the laptop for the node and daedalus, that will certainly help me in the future. Was there a reason you moved to a HD from SSD? My thought was that with this being a proper “roving” node (traveling with me everywhere) I would want a SSD for the more rugged nature of it.

It is an old laptop and has only 125GB of SSD which I use for OS and some productivity software and as we all know Windows needs empty drive space to function. If I have less then 25 GB of available space on my OS drive it slows right down. Laptop came with 1TB of HD which I don’t use anymore, so it was just cost effective.

I though that adding better components would help as well. However, it seems like the way Daedalus is designed it doesn’t really take full advantage of top of the line hardware. I tested the same wallet on 32 GB ram machine with twice as many CPU cores and faster internet connection and results were about the same. I think the way it replays the ledger is just streamlined somehow. Note: This is just my best guess, I don’t actually know why. Also, I may be overlooking something and others could have different experiences then this. :smile:

I was referring to wallet + full node specifically (not as a separate node function). Full node wallets (such a Daedalus) are responsible for posting and/or retrying transactions. In times of high volume and network congestion full node wallets will have to resubmit failed transactions. Light wallets, that share a node (and other resources) will obviously have to drop some transactions. So full node wallets will be holding that “back pressure” for the network as transactions clear up. There was a really good network diagram that showed back pressure, not sure where it was posted. However, here is a quote from IOHK article discussing the same thing.

" Wallets

Wallets act on behalf of end-users to submit payments and other transactions to the blockchain, and to track the blockchain status. One of the key services that a wallet provides is to submit transactions on the user’s behalf, confirm that they have been accepted onto the blockchain, and retry them on their behalf if the submission has not succeeded. That is, the wallet should take into account the effects of backpressure in the network as it becomes saturated, as well as other network effects (temporary disconnection, possible chain forks, etc). Wallets may be either:

  • Full-node wallets (as Daedalus), which use local computing and network resources to run a node that connects directly to the Cardano network.

  • Light wallets: these, in contrast, use shared computing and networking resources to serve a number of end users.

During periods of high demand (e.g., an NFT sale), both types of wallets may need to retry transactions. Since they share resources among many users, light wallets may need to temporarily scale the available computing and networking resources (including replicating endpoints) to ensure that user demand can be met. This demand-scaling is similar to the requirements that are placed when a company releases a popular new product, for example. In contrast, full node wallets may be essentially unaffected. Transactions may be slightly delayed, but each wallet will have the dedicated resources that are needed to retry the submission, including its own network connections. Similar principles apply to DApp providers – where specific network endpoints are provided, the system resources should be scaled to meet the demand."

Source:

I wasn’t talking about network failure. I was referring to loosing access to ones ADA due to centralized light wallet node. Existence of full node wallets is the last bastion of " Be your own bank" philosophy. There always has to be full node wallet accessible (even if it’s not the most user friendly experience) to anyone who wants to use one, otherwise the network will slowly become centralized.

Anyone using and upkeeping their full node wallet is helping the network. Dismissing the positive effects of one individual using a full node wallet as diminutive is counter productive to health of the network. The positive effects are aggregate of many people using it and such diversification strengthens the health of the network. We can’t have everyone (except SPOs and Devs) just blindly download something like Meta Mask and hope it will be fine.

Lets give those “average users” all options available, so they can choose not be “average” if they don’t want to. :wink:

Full node wallet apps only hold the back pressure for a single user. Light wallet apps could easily do the same by just caching transactions instead of failing if their upstream is congested.

The upstreams of all the light wallets together are even more diverse than all the Daedaluses using IOG exclusively (speaking about centralisation).

You can use your keys with every other light (or if you must full) wallet app at any time using another upstream or even allowing to choose it or use several at the same time. There is no additional risk of losing access in light wallet apps. Both types need to connect upstream to the network somewhere.

Nope, it is about holding your own keys, not needing to run your own infrastructure.

The important decentralisation is on the SPO layer, not on the wallet app layer. If the SPO layer is centralised, the benefit of running a self-controlled node to access that centralised infrastructure is nil. If the SPO layer is decentralised, I can happily use one of enough end points to connect to that decentralisation with a light wallet.

Someone else running a Daedalus node does help me or anyone else except that person nothing at all. At the very most, it helps that person to verify the blockchain themselves on their own hardware (the effect of which is diminished by the fact that a) almost nobody has the ability to check if the software is really doing something sensible there and b) if your node detects a network corruption and none of the SPOs upstream have prevented it that is equivalent to the network being dead in the water, already).

For the network to be healthy, I have to trust that a vast majority of SPOs is honest and competent enough, in any case. But then I can also use a light wallet.

With out having to address every point you made let me just say that things you mention aren’t mutually exclusive. Of course there are many factors to decentralization.

However, if one assumes the more difficult points are resolved (such as healthy SPO community) the you work down to the weakest link.

This is what I was pointing to when in reference to making efforts of other seem diminutive.
No it doesn’t help you. It does help me a little bit since retry is automatic. It allows me to automate once and leave it. It allows for this back pressure to exist. It creates a diverse routes to use and participate in Cardano network. It allows semi technical users to get slightly deeper involvement in to Cardano, thus creating another category of user. Not every aspect of Cardano network is just protocol functioning one way or another. There has to a plethora to ways to participate if we expect to attract billions of users.

For network to be heathy we need dedicated users first. Users that are involved, informed and welcomed at every level of technical knowledge. Everything else is built around and for those users. Honest SPO are useless if nobody uses the network. For example, I wouldn’t be using Cardano network if it wasn’t for Daedalus (and now full node Nami). So, I’m going to have to strongly disagree with you on this point and reiterate that:
“Anyone using and upkeeping their full node wallet is helping the network.”. :+1:

If I need 80 GiB+ on disk (and considerable CPU effort and RAM) to be able to retry one or at most a hand full of 16 KiB transactions, that does not seem to be the best software engineering solution. As said, light wallet apps could and should just cache transactions (don’t know to what extent they already do, there was no real congestion after the SundaeSwap incident that I noticed).

(By the way, I would love a stand-alone light wallet app instead of those browser-based thingies.)

Using that node inside Daedalus for other purposes is a very valid use case. I have said that above.

One of my earlier posts (Start Daedalus with tmux to use cardano-cli) was even about how to use the cardano-cli coming with Daedalus. (Since the shell inside that nix-chroot is very limited, I’m now using an additional cardano-cli outside instead and just point $CARDANO_NODE_SOCKET_PATH to the Daedalus node.)

Using it to fill a cardano-db-sync is also a very valid use case.

I’ll probably switch to a standalone node without the Daedalus UI, which I’m not really using anyway, at some point.

All I’m saying is that just using it as a wallet app seems at least unnecessary to me. And the impression that all these resources somehow benefit others, benefit the network as a whole is just wrong.

For a large percentage of these users, it is important to know that it is not soo much safer to use a full node wallet, that they don’t need to invest all these resources, that other wallet apps than Daedalus (and Yoroi) are totally viable. I can’t count the “How am I supposed to use Cardano? Daedalus now barely starts!” posts in all the channels.

That one I can totally subscribe and I think I’m doing quite a lot for that. For “informed”, it is important to explain the workings of Cardano over and over with different approaches. For “welcomed”, it is important to try to find the right level for each and every user. And I’m really trying that.

I just don’t think that for “involved”, it is really valuable to run a behemoth of a full node wallet app if you don’t really know and need what is in there.

… and thus, we might have to agree to disagree on that one.

(BTW: What do you mean with “full node Nami”? Running own cardano-submit-api and pointing Nami to it? Then “full node Eternl” should also be possible and we can maybe meet there.)

I had many experiences during heavy load days when trying to mint NFTs of light wallets constantly failing. I make a mint purchase from one Yoroi wallet and from two Daedalus wallets for the same mint (Yoroi Tx made 1st). Due to heavy load Daedalus just takes a bit of time, while Yoroi transactions fail. During that time I can’t send another transaction from Yoroi so if I only used that one I
would of missed the mint. All Daedalus transactions go trough (just with later times then sent).

I tried again with Nami (lite , not custom) and Daedalus with same results.

Reliability for network transactions, especially time sensitive ones (since some projects sell out in minutes after opening mint) is unrivaled in Daedalus compared to all other wallets. I had people in Discord so disillusioned with failed mint transaction that they wanted to give up on Cardano… until I got them to try Daedalus for the next mint. :smiley:

:point_up: This! There are people that I encounter that are very curious about Cardano (not just for investing), but they do not even own a computer. They live on their phones. So far I do not feel confident to recommend any available wallet or dApp for a phone. I don’t use anything Cardano on my phone (except for vote registration for Catalyst).

Agreed, but I can’t make a better one myself (yet :wink:), so for me this is the best option.

You call it a behemoth, but I see it as reusing my old computers. I don’t think 1TB of HD space is a lot, plus it’s a resource that many just have and are not using anyways. Even if I had to buy it just the gain in knowledge and questions that use of it opens up would be worth it for me.

Sure, as long as we present multiple options. There is a tendency towards branding and people want to have “The Best One”. This type of mentality can become an attack vector if enough people fall for it. There will never be “The Best One” since everyone has different needs and tech skills. In non crypto world there are anti-monopoly laws that prevent single sector manipulation. In crypto we only have our community. So, the culture we collectively create on Cardano has to have anti-monolithic mind set. This way we can safe guard from such downfalls. On the end of the day it is us as a community that are going to make Cardano work or not.

I didn’t want anyone reading to think that it’s all Daedalus vs. Lite-wallets , so since I know that Nami added custom node option I just added that as a good example of “other” options.
NamiNode

I haven’t tried Eternl yet. It’s on the to do list. Just have a lot of things back up on my to do list now. Was ill for a few moths with post-covid pneumonitis so to-do list got long. :face_with_diagonal_mouth:

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Oh, I was thinking about a desktop app, here. Probably some Python thingy with a command line and optionally a GUI if I were to create it.

But for mobile you are of course also totally right that there is still something to do.

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We do have two mobile wallets for Cardano: Flint and Eternl, both are available on iOS and Android.
Flint also lets you add a custom node for sending transactions to too.

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Eternl also has that possibility.

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I’m aware that there are mobile wallets. Just haven’t used one I would recommend.

I didn’t try Eternl yet.

I tried Flint in browser. It’s very nice for investor types. I hope when they add cross chain functions they will remove and/or improve that “charting” view ( or add options to replace it with other views). I wouldn’t recommend it for casuals, NFT collectors or gamers (which are mostly groups that need easy fit recommendations).

As for investor types, most of them are way happier just using exchanges with any wallet as back up.

There’s also Byron Wallet, which is a very simple interface compared to the others, and they’re also developing a DEX that they will connect to their wallet. May be more suited to the investor types you speak of if their DEX gains traction.
Yoroi also has a mobile app which, believe it or not, is not as bad as the browser extension is (still very slow to load though).
Both the Flint and Yoroi mobile wallets offer bluetooth connectivity for the Ledger Nano X. Yoroi offers wired connecting for other Ledger wallets, whilst Flint offers wired connections for the Trezor model T and other Ledger wallets.
I agree with you there’s no dedicated “NFT wallet” on mobile I will say this about NFT functionalities for the 4 mobile wallets we have (All of which I have on my device) in Cardano:

  • Byron Wallet - Doesn’t display NFTs
  • Yoroi - Doesn’t display NFTs
  • Flint - Displays NFTs in a nice gallery style. However the links the NFT takes you to Cardanoscan or ADAPools, not the NFT image itself.
  • Eternl - Doesn’t display NFTs in the best way, however it does pull up the NFT’s metadata, allowing you to easily find and view the file in the IPFS if you want to download it to your mobile device. If it’s a video NFT there’s a “Play Video” button and it’ll play right there for yu! And if it’s an on-chain file then there’s a button to “Open On-Chain File” (although this didn’t open my Nano Chess NFT)