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Kernel_task on a new MacBook Air

239860 Views 209 Replies Latest reply: Oct 4, 2010 12:53 PM by JOMStar RSS
  • goulash1971 Calculating status...
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    Jan 7, 2010 8:00 PM (in response to zinch)
    For what it's worth ...

    Same experience with my MacBook Air (either under heavy load or when the ambient room temperature has been above 30c) of kernel_task up at 160%.

    Originally I thought it may have something to do with the (Telstra 21) 3g USB modem (which has the most AWFUL set of drivers & support app) but, like others, I've discovered that the root cause is simply the temperature of the CPUs.

    So, after disabling all services, bluetooth, removing the USB stick, resetting the PRAM, and stopping just about everything other than the OS, the problem was still there.

    2 things that "appear" to have worked :

    1. Turning on the A/C

    Like others, I installed Coolbook, but unlike others I didn't pay the $10 (i'm too cheap & in any case I don't WANT to underclock my Mac!) ... instead I used it to monitor the CPU temperature ... which was running at around 55c (ambient air temp = 34c).

    Closing the windows, turning on the A/C and holding the Macbook under the vent of the A/C ... whilst monitoring CPU usage and Coolbook ... show'd that when the CPU temp dropped below approx 48c ... the kernel_task overload stopped.

    Starting up all the things that I'd stopped, and moving back to the desk (at the other end of the house) and the temp gradually rose up to 52c, but the kernel_task didn't go nuts & stayed stable.

    2. Removing the case protector

    I also removed the Speck plastic case protector that I had on the Macbook (it's hard plastic, rhobust, and has vents where the Air does) and that dropped the CPU temp (over a short period of time) by approx 2c.

    So in summary ...

    - The problem IS thermal
    - The problem has a temperature trigger
    - The temperature trigger is more than JUST the CPU temperature at a point in time
    - A case protector reduces/changes the ability of the Air to radiate heat appropriately

    I have now installed the smcFanControl app, which provides me with a temp readout (it's using the fan sensor ... which is showing between 60c & 64c as the CPU temp reads between 50c & 52c) ... and I'm keeping the case OFF the machine.

    I know this doesn't "fix" the problem ... and being a "realist" I KNOW that the only thing that will is buying the next version of the Macbook Air .... BUT ... I hope this adds to the knowledge base.
    Macbook Air, Mac OS X (10.6.2)
  • mar.b Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Apr 5, 2010 8:44 AM (in response to goulash1971)

    Has anyone had any luck getting his money back from Apple?

    My MacBook Air 2,13 Ghz, Rev. C is barely usable.

    Kernel_Task is using two times 100% of my CPU and I can't watch a movie or surf the web while syncing my iPhone.

    The MBA is a complete disaster in engineering.

    What is actually the position of Apple support at the moment? Do they acknowledge the problem?

    MBA 2,13, Mac OS X (10.6.3)
  • drricky Calculating status...
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    Apr 9, 2010 9:19 PM (in response to goulash1971)
    For what it's worth, I found a solution to my problem. I take a frozen gel pack, and lay the computer on it. The kernel_task problem resolves within seconds of doing this, so the problem is definitely thermal. I don't think I can get Apple engineering to change this, but at least the rapidly conducting aluminum case dissipates heat as soon as a heat sink is available.
    Macbook Air, Mac OS X (10.6.1)
  • VidR Calculating status...
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    Apr 23, 2010 4:39 PM (in response to zinch)
    I had the same issue that a lot of people have described above; Aggressive Kernel task, overheating, followed by involuntary shut downs. The hardware test returned error: 4SNS/1/40000000:TsOP-128.000. Which I've since learned means hard drive sensor error; ref: ml.
    This started a month ago @ 2 years from the date of purchase. Coolbook and smcFanControl kept me in business for a short time until my keyboard and trackpad stopped responding; at least external peripherals still worked. Suspecting a firmware update was to blame, I wiped out the system and reinstalled, to no avail. So I gave up and brought it my certified apple repair shop and they determined it's probably the main logic board @ $600 to replace or we could send it back to Apple for a "lower half repair" for $360. I went for the later.

    I just got it back today and Apple replaced the
    main logic board,
    left and right clutch,
    thermal module.

    Wow am I ever glad I sent it back. I thought this machine was in pristine condition. Apparently it needed more help than I thought.

    It's been running for 3 hours and so far so good. I'll give it a good test next week.
    I do have one complaint. There's a consistent 3 second long ticking noise every 7 seconds; very consistent. It's getting quieter but it hasn't gone away yet.
    MacBook Air 1.1 1.8GHz, Mac OS X (10.5.8), Boot ROM: MBA11.00BB.B03. SMC: 1.23f20
  • wotnobears Calculating status...
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    May 2, 2010 2:56 AM (in response to mrad01)
    Hi guys just picked up on this as a prob - to throw into the mix - got the 1.8 with flash when it first came out - has been fine until the last couple of months - use istat and sometimes it runs just fine in the high 70 degrees today its been playing up in the low 60's - not entirely sure its simply temperature based - certainly peeing me off though - shutting all running apps does always fix it though.
    MBA 1.8 C2D Flash 1,1, Mac OS X (10.6.3)
  • tach24 Calculating status...
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    May 2, 2010 1:25 PM (in response to zinch)
    I don't the kernel issue is isolated to any specific model of MBA based on past threads... is an issue across the board....
    MBA - 1.6Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, Mac OS X (10.6.3), 21" iMac, MBA, iPhone, iTouch, Apple TV
  • walnussbaer Calculating status...
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    May 11, 2010 7:04 AM (in response to mar.b)
    I've had the same problem some months ago, called the service - they didn't know the problem They told me to get it checked at a service point - that's what I did. They said there's some sensor on the logicboard defective and they replaced the logicboard and the complete upper case including keyboard. No problems since then.
    MacBook Air B, Mac OS X (10.6.2)
  • mar.b Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 11, 2010 7:14 PM (in response to walnussbaer)
    Dear walnussbaer.

    You seem to be from Germany and it has been a cold winter there the last few month. I'm eager to know what your MBA does in late spring or summer. Please keep us posted.

    MBA 2,13, Mac OS X (10.6.3)
  • walnussbaer Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    May 14, 2010 12:40 AM (in response to mar.b)
    I don't see any problems. I've already spent one summer with my air without any problems. Funnily the problems started in the winter...
    MacBook Air B, Mac OS X (10.6.2)
  • iphonewear Calculating status...
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    May 15, 2010 9:03 PM (in response to walnussbaer)
    How much did they charge you ? I am not covered by Apple Care any more and have the same problem. Anyone has any ideea about the price for that fix if it isn`t under warranty ?
    MBA, Mac OS X (10.6.3)
  • walnussbaer Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 20, 2010 3:53 AM (in response to iphonewear)
    They didn't charge me anything - it was unter warranty. I still don't know why they changed to whole upper body but it seemed to be nessecary. The costs would probably be enormous. I guess the logiboard alone would be around 700,-
    MacBook Air B, Mac OS X (10.6.2)
  • MustafaMond Calculating status...
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    May 28, 2010 6:55 PM (in response to zinch)
    APPLE Are you listening?!? This is just unbelievable. I have had this problem since I bought my MBP 4 years ago and I've been watching the threads for this problem...they come, they go. No one ever gets a reproducible fix for the problem and YOU say nothing and do nothing.

    What is the root cause of the kernel_task running out of control? I want a fix for it. I really, REALLY do. I have been waiting for years nothing happens.

    Yes, I love my machine. Yes, it's great. But NO you guys are out to lunch in the kernel_task-running-out-of-control department. *PLEASE OH PLEASE* say/do something????
    MacBook Pro 17", Mac OS X (10.5.4), Intel Core 2 Duo, 2.33 GHz, 1 CPU, 2 Cores, 4M L2 Cache, 2G RAM, Bus Speed 667 MHz
  • Ryan Vetter1 Level 2 Level 2 (460 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 31, 2010 10:28 PM (in response to MustafaMond)
    I've had my MBA 2.13 SSD for about 8 months now. Things were good the first 4 months. Love how thin and light it is. Now, over the past say 3 solid months, it's barely usable. I see others saying the same thing.

    I restart, repair permissions, sometimes trash system/user caches, but the overheating and resultant sputter keeps rearing its ugly head. I even have Flash disabled in Safari.

    I also don't open more than 5 programs at any one time. Right now 4 apps are running (iTunes, TextEdit, Pages and Safari - 2 tabs open)... the Air is hot, CPU at 55 C. Boiling. Always boiling. Heats up within 5-10 minutes from sleep. I can't seem to do anything really substantial on this without it overheating and freezing. Very frustrating.

    And I keep losing HD space. I read an interesting article about how OS X does not yet play nice with SSD. That when you delete things space isn't always freed up until you restart. I have confirmed this, sometimes seeing my available disk space upon restart increase by 4-5 GB. As I am typing this, I can feel the heat from this unit radiating everywhere...

    Another poster said that the Air was an engineering disaster. He may be right. While there is so much to love about the Air, it's performance is beyond flawed. I can't really use this. I wonder what Apple will do for me. I have really given this a good run. And now that I have an iPad with a stand and a bluetooth keyboard, there seems to be even less reason to keep this, as it is, afterall, a companion to my larger MBP.

    Just another overheated MBA user searching for answers... with none to be found.
    MacBook Pro 15" 2.4 GHz; Mac Mini 1.83 GHz; MacBook Air 2.13 128 SSD., Mac OS X (10.6.2)
  • Scott Fox Level 1 Level 1 (145 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 12, 2010 6:20 AM (in response to zinch)
    I have tried the thermal test and it definitely has something to do with the kernel_task issue. Chilling the mac with gel packs reduced the percent of cpu used from 150 to .9%. I will be taking my MBA in for repair on Monday!
    MacBook Air, Mac OS X (10.6.3), 3G iPod nano 8 Gb, 1.42 G4 mini, 5G nano 16 Gb
  • werpu Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 19, 2010 4:58 AM (in response to Ryan Vetter1)
    The answer is simply, the Air is broken by design, if your air first performend and now does not it seems to me you have dusty vents, let it check from your local repair center.
    Blowing them out can give you another bunch of months until the entire thing reappears. Also if your environment is hot which is rather usual, then you might also run into thermal issues. (At least in my experience, at my last air months I was using dried cool gel packs to cool the lemon down which helped to keep the kernel task at bay)

    But given my 2 years of constant gripes with the Air I can say is get rid of the lemon asap. The Air is simply a machine broken by design.

    I am not on a 13 inch macbook pro and could not be happier, as portable as the air although heavier, and a real workhorse.
    Macbook Air SSD Rev a /Macbook Pro 13 inch, Mac OS X (10.6.4)


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