Well the good news is that I got the GKrellM builtin mail notifier working after i pointed it to
and now it will show an animation as long as i have unread messages in the inbox. the animation stops after the messages are read and it does its next check. That is, it will keep animating for 10 mins if that is the time between checks.
As for POP3 checkers: they will work, but I think a lot of people keep messages on the server for some length of time before removing them (if at all). So, POP checkers will tell you that you have 100+ messages (or whatever is left on the server), as they work under the presumtion that your mail program will always clear out the server.
IMAP checkers work OK, and say you have "1 new message" as opposed to several hundred but if you are running say evolution or thunderbird and have it autochecking, the next time the IMAP notification checker take a look, thunderbird/evolution will mark the message as read and thus the notifier will think the message is read and no longer think there is new mail. In short, the IMAP checker will say you have new mail for the time between checks, after that it will return to a "No new mail" state.
Check out GKrellM though. Good little program and the mail checker works!