I was playing around with geth as I setup a wallet for mining, and wanted to check the balance (obviously zero haha) and just play around with it a bit, so googled how and then it said to start geth console so I did, but then it starts to download the blockchain. On this particular machine I don't want to download it as I only put a 60GB SSD. Do I actually need the block chain local to use a wallet? Also, do I need to forward ports? I was hoping that was just an optional thing for if you are solo mining. I don't want to forward ports to this machine as it's on my main vlan. Though I guess I can move it to my "internet" vlan.
Roughly how big is the block chain at the moment, and do I need high disk I/O to handle it? Also if I build more than one mining rig do I need the blockchain on each machine or can I just have one central machine that has it? I will be mining to a pool for the time being.