Previous 1 2 3 Next 216 Replies Latest reply: May 20, 2014 3:01 PM by Nauman Mithani
DChabot Level 1 (145 points)

My old MBP3,1 (late 2007, 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo) worked quite well with 4 GB of RAM, even after weeks without restarting. In fact, I used all available RAM only on some larger analyses using R, which loads the entire dataset in memory. To be able to run these few analyses faster on my new machine (early 2011 MBP), I bought the 8 GB RAM option.

In Activity Monitor, I noticed something strange. Whereas my old MBP shows kernel_taks as using between 100 and 200 MB of RAM, the new MBP uses about 550 MB just after the machine started up and often shows over 600 after a few hours or days of use. A one year old iMac, again Core 2 Duo with 4 GB of RAM, gives a kernel_task memory usage below 200 MB after weeks of use.

I've not been able to find what kernel_task does. Is this amount (around 600 MB, but it has gone up to 800) normal? Is it managiing the additional number of cores that requires this behind the scenes amount of RAM?

Anyway, I now quite often have more than 4 GB of RAM in use even when I have only a few applications running (not even including R!), which surprises me.

Also today, after moving a lot of files back and forth between an external drive and the new MBP, after emptying the garbage can that contained a hefty number of files and doing a first Time Machine backup, the Finder ended up using 2,4 GB of RAM according to Activity Monitor. I have never seen anything like this (although I admit not having Activity Monitor on all the time). Even after the backup was finished and the external drive disconnected (in fact the machine was left idling for a few hours) cpu usage was down to nearly zero, the Finder kept its 2.4 GB of RAM. I restarted and the new RAM usage for the Finder was 26 MB. I have a screen shot showing the 2.4 GB, but I could not find a way to attach it to this message. I can send it by email on request. I don't think this Finder behavior was normal.

Somewhat worried,


MacBook Pro 2.2 GHz i7, 8 GB RAM, Mac OS X (10.6.6)
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