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kernel_task consumes a lot of RAM in early 2011 MBP, sometimes Finder too

172380 Views 215 Replies Latest reply: Mar 17, 2014 9:46 AM by Attila RSS
  • QuickTimeX Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I am still not sure whether this is a problem or not. Apparently it seems when I have 16GB of RAM, 512MB is allocated to Intel HD3000 graphic card, and I think it is included in kernel_task.

     

    Right now my kernel_task is taking 1.15GB. That is still over 500MB of RAM taken into Kernel for unknown reason. Mountain Lion didn't make the situation any better. I remember the days when kernel_task only takes about 100MB.

  • Jp Cooper Level 1 Level 1 (35 points)

    My work laptop:

     

    2.3 Ghz Core i5 64-bit

    4 GB RAM

    13 inch MBP

    March 2011

    Safari 5.1.7 on Snow Leopard 10.6.8

     

    My home machine:

    Mac Mini

    1.83 Ghz Core Duo 32-bit

    2 GB RAM

    (roughly) September 2006

    Safari 5.1.2 on Snow Leopard 10.6.8

     

    The MBP I've been using since October 2011.

    I have had no problems with it until May 2012 (when Safari 5.1.7 was released).

    I updated the MBP but not the Mini.

    Since the update Safari burns thru memory rather fast.

     

    My gauge has been work tasks during the work day.  I code Websites most of the time.  Fairly repeat tasks - nothing extranious.  Nothing that changed around the Safari update to blame.

     

    Currently:

     

    The Mini is showing 124 MB / 2 GB used.

    The MBP is showing 441 MB / 4 GB used.

     

    The MBP was jsut cold started after a crash.

    The Mini has been running solid for 20+ days currently.  (during which time I have started - stopped and restarted Safari - Photoshop and various other high system resource intensive tasks)

     

    With the MBP - loading an HTML Editor - Safari - Firefox - Mail - Calendar - Text Edit - I cannot gert thru lunchtime without having to relaunch or reboot.  The Kernel_Task aside - the remaining Memory is usually taken up by Safari. Basically tasks and software that should be able to run near indefinitely.

     

    After roughly half a day - I notice the spinning ball shows up briefly at first.  Which prompts me to check memory allocation - RAM usage tends to nearly max out at 40xx MB - leaving 30-50 MBs of free memory. (I use a menu bar gauge called Menu Meter which does not register in Activity Monitor).

     

    Checking Activity Monitor - Safari is #1 an the kernel_Task is #2 on the list accoring to the Real Memory column.

     

    So YES - there is probably an inherent memory leak in Safari.  But I think this is aside from the existing Kernel_Task issue that Apple has not bothered to respond to in several years.

     

    Also - without testing numerous other machines - I do not think this is specifically an OS issue (note both systems above are running the same OS).  It seems more related to a cross between some flaw in Safari (radical memory leak) and some unaddressed hardware flaw that has simply never been corrected.

     

    It does not matter about this thread much.  Apple has this to placate folks into thinking they have any voice that will apeal to Corporate but they don't pay much attention here.  They have problems that go back years that have not been resolved or addressed.  This is becoming one of them.  They are basically turning into what Microsoft has already achieved years back - we're going to do things our way and our Customers have to bend over and like it.  They're losing the main aspect of what made Apple what it is.  It's sad - but they are getting too big for their own good.  All while we must live with the flaws that go unfixed for new fancy fluff updates instead or jump ship to worse eco-systems like Windows.  "If you don't like the garbage we dish out go get garbage from someone else".  Gotta love it.

  • timelessness Calculating status...

    Thanks for the note, JP. I came to my wit's end with this. I finally moved on.

     

    There was a period of about 2 years where I could recommend to my family and friends "what computer should I buy?" I could just say: "get Apple" and not think about it. Because they didn't want to hack drivers or deal with viruses or whatever.

     

    Those days are clearly gone. Any of my friends/family that would have this problem would come to me, and I'd have to spend weeks troubleshooting this annoying issue only to finally recommend they throw away their $3k machine and... buy another one?! Alas, no. Throw it away and buy Windows.

     

    I bought into the lie so much that I spent $3k for my MBP, thinking I could finally leave behind the life of spending weeks troubleshooting simple tech problems. But it takes more effort to keep it running OSX than to throw Linux Mint on it. ***. I never thought I'd type these words, ever. Linux is like the yardstick of retardation when it comes to desktop performance, and Apple just went full retard.

     

    My little experiment throwing Linux Mint on my MBP has also shown some of the other cracks in the Apple facade. The wireless card in this thing is really bad. When all other computers (Dell & Lenovo) are working fine, this one keeps disconnecting. It was the same when I ran OSX, that the Apple had problems with wifi, but OSX somehow tried to work through it by resetting the card (I assume automatically).

     

    Now that I'm running Linux on it, I can actually get under the hood and see the mediocre hardware's performance problems.

     

    It looks like the days of "Apple hardware is the best" are also gone.

     

    For me, the honeymoon is over. Will not recommend Apple hardware to my computer novice friends anymore. I am the subject matter expert, and I can now say for a fact Windows wins. What a sad day.

  • Cyberpundit Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    I know how you feel. But I tried the latest Dell and Samsung and they're not worth anything either. Basically the problem is with you having upgraded an OS on your Mac, right? Been there, done that. Instead of lamenting the upgrade's slowdown, just bite the bullet, backup everything, "clean install" the OS (I recommend Mountain Lion, not Lion) and you'll never look back. I left it for too long thinking I have all my gazillion softwares, but with time machine, it was quite the cinch and now it's flowing as usual.

     

    Net net: just do a clean install.     

  • timelessness Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Sorry Cyberpundit, no. The problem isn't in upgrading the OS.

     

    Also I tried using Time Machine to go back to earlier versions of the OS, and included wiping the partition completely and reinstalling the OS.

     

    Whatever this problem is, even the vanilla OS gets into this state once your MBP hardware breaks in whatever way triggers this problem. Obviously we lack the tools to determine what that is in OSX, but when I install Linux, I can use all my RAM, so it's definitely something in OSX.

     

    I will not be using Mountain Lion or Lion. I have too many friends (literally ex Apple employees) who tried it and say it's a huge step backward. I bought the machine for a particular UI and particular usage pattern. Apple has lost us in more ways than one.

  • Cyberpundit Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    To each his own. I disagree that Mountain Lion is a step backward. My MBP from 2009 is flying with a fresh install of it. The hardware quality of Macs is still top of the line -- sorry, Dell or Samsung or Sony do not even come close.

     

    If you want to use Linux because you enjoy it, sure, by all means use it. But the remark that Windows is better in performance, or especially that the hardware we get with Mac is not top of the line, is inaccurate. Macs still beat everything else out there in the market. It would be nice to have OSes upgrade more decently without such a remarkable performance degradation, but well.

     

    Anyway, enjoy computing. To others reading this thread -- and I was vociferous not too long ago with my disdain about kernel_task too -- here's my simple advice. Do a clean install. Skip Lion altogether. Mountain Lion is superb (Snow Leopard was quite fast, but some of the functionality in ML is hard to go back from.)

  • mcG73 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Im not sure if someone in another post mentioned the fs_usage command- it allows you to see 'in real time' the processess that your computer is running. To use, open up terminal and at the prompt type 'sudo fs_usage' (minus the single quotes)  -- you will be prompted to enter your admin password- immediately the terminal window will fill and you can see whats chewing up resouces, look for big blocks of repetition in the output.  Or for a graphical U.I. open up 'Activity Monitor' and select the 'Memory' tab- the % of cpu is displayed for you.

  • JBMedeiros Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Stop to use Safari and use Only Google Chrome on 10.8.2.

     

    This works for me on my MBP Mid 2010 ans kernel_task is not overloading until now.

  • In_need Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    After having similar issues, I've just spent 2 days on and off with Apple Techs working through this. My issue was 2 fold, kernel_task was using 800mb of RAM (not as much as some examples Ive read here) but using 500% CPU. Now theoretically we know that's not possible but that's what it was showing in the Monitor.

     

    After the Apple Techs couldn't give a straight answer as to what was happening, we decided to to erase the drive and re-install the OS and user data files only. We chose not to do a complete restore for fear of just restoring the problem whatever it may be. So far so good. After re-installing my apps from original disks RAM usage is back to 350MB and CPU back to ranging between 0 and 15% when running my usual Office / Mail / Safari / Adobe Reader day.

     

    I personally think this might be related to a virus. My MBPS was working perfectly for 6 months before this problem started. I hadn't upgraded OS or anything like that and I wasn't really doing anything high powered, just spreadsheets, word, PowerPoint, some photos etc and all of a sudden the system just ground to a halt. It makes sense that with the growth in popularity of MAC it's more worthwhile for virus writers to start to run a muck here as well as PC.

     

    Erasing disk and restoring only user data files and re-install apps from original sources has worked for me ( so far ).

     

    Good luck everyone. I agree it's a shame the Apple have been silent on this one.

  • wyager Calculating status...

    500% CPU means that it is using 5 out of 8 logical cores. Your computer has 8 logical cores, so Kernel_task was completely using five of them.

  • In_need Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for that. Is something that the Apple Tech didn't share but I knew 500% on the face of it didn't make sense. Was up to nearly 600% for the last couple of days before I did the erase on Saturday. Still going well, with Kernel_Task running at upto only 15% and memory at 417MB so far today.

  • apoorv03 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Folks,

     

    My kernel_task on MBA 2011 version takes up more than 2.5GB or RAM (out of 4GB) and the computer eventually crashes. This is really frustrating.

     

    I have wiped teh computer clean and reinstalled OS - no good!

     

    Any advice? Is this a Mountain Lion problem? What if I revert back to Snow Leopard?

     

    Thanks,

    Apoorv

  • apoorv03 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Come on Apple ENgineers!      

  • In_need Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi everyone,

     

    I might have a found the problem for some of us. After a re-install of my system i was ok for a few days but then I was back to where I started. Then something broke my routine and things changed.

     

    I moved from my office to travel and whilst I was on the road using my macbook I noticed things improved dramatically. The only obvious difference in what I was doing was that I was no longer connected to my external monitor (the apple 29" display).

     

    When I got home I tested it out and sure enough, once I was reconnected to the monitor for a few hours my macbook then started to overheat and kernel_task went into overdrive again. I disconnected from the monitor, let the macbook cool down and then performance was back to perfect. I have now been using my macbook without the external display for months without a hiccup. I still need to take my display back for a refund, but problem solved; for me anyway.

     

    This may not be exclusively attached to running an external display, but if you are running any other external devices that may be causing your macbook to overheat (or at least feel hotter then usual) try running without them and see how you go.

     

    Good luck everyone, and I agree, apple have been useless with their advice in this regard.

  • mpanta Calculating status...

    Maybe the following could fix the problem with the high CPU usage of kernel_task:

     

    http://www.rdoxenham.com/?p=259

     

    I don't know if this can have an effect on high memory usage though.

     

    Cheers,

    Marco

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