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A system monitor is a hardware- or software- based system used to monitor resources and performance in a computer system.
Software monitors occur more commonly, sometimes as a part of a widget engine. These monitoring systems are often used to keep track of system resources, such as CPU usage and frequency, or the amount of free RAM. They are also used to display items such as free space on one or more hard drives, the temperature of the CPU and other important components, and networking information including the system IP address and current rates of upload and download. Other possible displays may include the date and time, system uptime, computer name, username, hard drive S.M.A.R.T data, fan speeds, and the voltages being provided by the power supply.
Less common are hardware-based systems monitoring similar information. Customarily these occupy one or more drive bays on the front of the computer case, and either interface directly with the system hardware or connect to a software data-collection system via USB. With either approach to gathering data, the monitoring system displays information on a small LCD panel or on series of small analog or LED numeric displays. Some hardware-based system monitors also allow direct control of fan speeds, allowing the user to quickly customize the cooling in the system.
A few very high-end models of hardware system monitor are designed[by whom?] to interface with only a specific model of motherboard. These systems directly utilize the sensors built into the system, providing more detailed and accurate information than less-expensive monitoring systems customarily provide.
Software versions are[when?] becoming more common, with even the Microsoft Windows Vista sidebar including a meter to monitor CPU and RAM usage. Hardware versions are very rare on OEM computers, with the exception of high-end servers. However, computer enthusiasts often install such hardware-based monitors.
- Activity Monitor on Mac OS X
- CPU-Z, detects live changes in CPU attributes
- frysk - analyzes and monitors system processes
- Motherboard Monitor
- Sar in UNIX
- usage merger (and successor) of gnome system monitor and baobab
- Windows Sidebar on Windows Vista
- Network monitoring
- Mean time between failures (MTBF)
- Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI)
- System profiler
- Petersen, Richard L (2008). Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5: Administration Security Desktop. Surfing Turtle Press. p. 119. ISBN 978-0-9820998-0-3. Retrieved 2010-09-30. "Frysk is a specialized complex monitoring tool for system processes."
- The Frysk project