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If one wanted to be a solana validator node. What are the current validator requirements in hardware and locked SOL? And has the validator requirements increased due to the upgrades of each version of Solana since creation?

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In Solana there is a difference between being a validator and being able to participate in consensus. If you want to be able to participate in consensus you need a voting account.

As a validator (without voting account) you can validate transaction, but you can't vote. So, this implies you don't need to freeze any SOL.

As a validator (with voting account) you need to freeze 0.02685864 SOL and voting process will cost you roughly around 1.1 SOL per day.

Regarding hardware recommendation, in documentation a system with following config was recommended

  • CPU
    • 12 cores / 2
    • 4 threads, or more
    • 2.8GHz, or faster
    • AVX2 instruction support (to use official release binaries, self-compile otherwise)
    • Support for AVX512f and/or SHA-NI instructions is helpful
    • The AMD Zen3 series is popular with the validator community
  • RAM
    • 128GB, or more
    • Motherboard with 256GB capacity suggested
  • Disk
    • PCIe Gen3 x4 NVME SSD, or better
    • Accounts: 500GB, or larger. High TBW (Total Bytes Written)
    • Ledger: 1TB or larger. High TBW suggested
    • OS: (Optional) 500GB, or larger. SATA OK
    • The OS may be installed on the ledger disk, though testing has shown better performance with the ledger on its own disk
    • Accounts and ledger can be stored on the same disk, however due to high
    • IOPS, this is not recommended
    • The Samsung 970 and 980 Pro series SSDs are popular with the validator community
  • GPUs
    • Not strictly necessary at this time
    • Motherboard and power supply speced to add one or more high-end GPUs in the future suggested

From Solana doc.

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