Windows only: SysMetrix gives you a desktop widget you can skin, configure, and tweak to show you the time, your system info, email updates, and other information in a seemingly endless number of configurations. The system monitor comes with a variety of built-in themes, ranging from analogue clocks with built-in mini-gauges to screen-length toolbar strips, that you can add your own sliders, histograms, read-outs, and other tools to. The tool supports POP-based email checking, and can work with the Motherboard Monitor tool if you're looking for temperatures, fan speeds, and the like. SysMetrix is a free download for Windows systems only. Read on for a look at what you can tweak on a SysMetrix clock.
After installing SysMetrix and loading it up, you'll see an auto-updating graph in your system tray, along with a clock widget on your desktop. First off, don't be concerned—it's a lot more than just a Vista Sidebar clock widget, and you can move it, stick it to a screen side, make it transparent, or have it auto-hide, any way you want, really. Right-click on the clock or the tray icon and choose "SysMetrix Configuration."
The Theme Browser shows you the built-in themes that come with the tool, but they're really just starting templates. You can grab more themes at WinCustomize, Deviant Art, and other customisation sites. Pick a basic style—analog clock, strip, or box widget—and let's keep moving.
As noted, you don't have to give up space to your SysMetrix if you don't want to. In the Preferences menu's Positioning section, you've got the option to have the app remember where you put your widget, reserve screen space (meaning windows can't cover it), set up pseudo-transparency by having the widget copy its background, and enable real transparency on Windows XP/2000.
SysMetrix's configuration gives you a serious number of ways to tweak your gauge's appearance. It's worth noting, though, that adding a new gauge or element to a theme starts from scratch. You specify the number of pixels off the centre a gauge, graph, or number display starts at, how it moves, what graphic it uses, and so on. The best bet for those without time to Photoshop their own tools is to choose or download a theme with built-in gauges and indicators, then simply change what they monitors—turning a CPU checker, for instance, into an email monitor, moving from left to right as you get more and more mail.
Those are the basics of SysMetrix. Have a better theme that offers some crazy customisations? Want to share a screenshot of your own SysMetrix setup? Share it all in the comments. Thanks, LazurusSnass!