System monitor

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A system monitor displaying system resource usage

A system monitor is a hardware or software component used to monitor resources and performance in a computer system.[1]


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,[2] 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.


Single system:


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wiesen, G.; Bailey, Heather (1 December 2010). "What Is a System Monitor?". wiseGEEK. Archived from the original (html) on 1 December 2010. Retrieved 23 November 2018. A system monitor is a program or piece of hardware that monitors various aspects of a computer system and then displays information regarding the status of that system. This sort of monitor typically takes the form of a software program provided with an operating system (OS) or used as a standalone program. Hardware system monitors are also available, though these are fairly specialized devices and not as frequently used as software monitors. A system monitor will typically track various aspects of a computer system, including what programs are running, how resources are being used, and certain details regarding the hardware installed on a computer.
  2. ^ Kaskavalci, Halil (22 October 2015). "Installing system monitor conky on Ubuntu". Archived from the original (html) on 22 October 2015. Retrieved 23 November 2018. What is a System Monitor? System monitors show various system indicators like HDD, Network, and CPU usage. If you want to learn more about your computer, it’s a must have tool.
  3. ^ Nadel, Brian. "Inspector Gadgets: Windows 7 Gadgets for Monitoring Your PC". PCWorld. Retrieved 2014-01-31.

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