Edit: Unfortunately, the images originally included in this post are gone, because of hosting problems in late 2009. My apologies.
Just as a side note to some age-old suggestions about using fbpanel and Openbox to mock up the default Ubuntu layout, chris4585 sent a screenshot of a system that does just that. And his is a good deal better than the rather dull ones I made, a little while ago.
You can get an idea of the hardware involved in the conky display. I forgot to ask about configuration files, but I’m sure that, with a little effort and some creativity, you could come up with something as sharp.