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

171162 Views 215 Replies Latest reply: Mar 17, 2014 9:46 AM by Attila RSS
  • LSUAMDG Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Just went to the Apple Store yesterday. Talked to a Genius for about an hour, getting all the diagnostics run, minimal system boot with the Shift key down, etc. and he had no answer. He checked another MBP (late 2010?) and it was eating up RAM right after boot as well. He told me he put in a troubleshoot order into the system and I asked to be contacted if anything comes of it. Ill post back as soon as I hear something.

  • eww Level 9 Level 9 (52,975 points)

    As a matter of fact, this whole thread is much ado about nothing. Mac OS X is much better at allocating RAM to processes wherever and whenever it is needed than any user could ever be if the job had to be done manually (as it was, substantially, in OS 9 and earlier). This is why OS X makes no provision for user interference in the process.

     

    The more RAM you install in a Mac, the more the operating system (including kernel task and Finder) will claim for its own use. This increases the OS's efficiency by reducing the need to page and cache data. If the OS didn't do this, the performance benefits to be reaped by adding RAM would be smaller than they are. Just as your applications benefit from extra RAM, so does the OS. What you are all seeing is not a problem at all — it's part of the fruits of your investment in more RAM.

     

    More about this here:

     

    http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1342

  • LSUAMDG Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    @ eww

     

    No one here is disagreeing that OS X is great at allocating RAM, and I don't believe anyone has posted anything about the actual OS being slow to operate or open/close programs etc.

     

    What we all are wondering are two things:

     

    1) Why does kernel_task use so much more RAM proportionately on the newer models of the MBP, even if both models have 4GB of RAM (provided that they both might not be at 1333MHz or DDR3)?

     

    2) Why do all the processes not add up to be what activity monitor is claiming should be the total? (see above screen shots)

     

    I even went to the Genius Bar at my local Apple Store and every single one of the Geniuses said that shouldn't be happening. But I'll let everyone know as soon as I hear back from them.

  • eww Level 9 Level 9 (52,975 points)

    So your machine is behaving just fine, you have no complaints about how fast or efficiently it operates, you understand that OS X allocates RAM wherever it's needed from moment to moment, and yet you persist in worrying about it? You could just use the computer and not worry about it — that is an option. It seems like a pretty good choice to make, when there's no sign of trouble as you work and diagnostic tests find nothing wrong.

     

    As for why kernel task on the new machines claims more RAM than on the old ones, given the same amount of installed RAM, I suspect that comes down to four processor cores instead of two. Just a guess.

  • wyager Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    @LSUAMDG

    Cool, I hope we get somewhere and this doesn't end up shoved in a virtual drawer.

     

    @eww

    I really, really disagree with that-I've had terrible experiences with OS X ram management (I've had to use the `purge` command after using flash player more than once). But that's not even what this thread is about, so I'm not sure why you're telling us. The idea that hogging ram increases efficiency is BS, because if Kernel_task needed under 100 megs on other laptops, there's no reason it should allocate over five times the needed amount in other systems. This is a problem, not an "optimization". We are not trying to justify kernel_task's use of RAM with conjecture, we are trying to figure out why it takes so much more than it used to with the same RAM specs.

     

    I also sent in a report to Apple, but I doubt it will be answered as quickly as a report from an Apple store.

     

    Edit:Eww just posted;

    No, my machine is not behaving fine, I have plenty of complaints, OS X allocates memory poorly, which is why every Mb is needed, and I persist in worrying about it because it's a problem. None of us ever said it was not a problem. There ARE signs of trouble as I work-I regularly run out of usable RAM, even when a simple terminal command frees up over a gigabyte and a half with no noticeable performance decrease.

     

    It seems to me that you are here to justify this problem with conjecture rather than help us find a solution. That is not what we need.

  • numonium Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I concur. There is no reason why a new 2011 MBP should be using twice the amount of RAM at boot as its late 2010 counterpart. My friends (some are Apple Techs) say that it's probably some kexts loaded at boot for Thunderbolt.

     

    Additionally, OS X does do a great job at managing memory between processes, but if a process is taking up more RAM than it's supposed to, I'm not too sure what OS X memory manager can do about that. Methinks the kexts are inefficient, or they have some kind of memory leak. I shouldn't be using almost 2 GB of RAM after a cold boot, no matter what. Sorry, that's the Vista excuse.

  • eww Level 9 Level 9 (52,975 points)

    Wyager: The new design of the forums makes it lhard to tell, but my last post above ("So your machine is behaving...") was a direct response addressed to LSUAMDG, who reported no problems and has no complaints about OS X's memory management. My suggestion that s/he stop worrying was based on his/her post, not on anyone else's experience. You are apparently having a very different experience, so it seems likely that something different is going on in your machine from what's happening in LSUAMDG's.

     

    As you suggest, I'll just go away and let you wait to hear back from Apple. Good luck.

  • LSUAMDG Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Appologies for not clairfying before, but OS X runs ok. Its all the other programs that I have open that suffer from OS X eating up much more than it should.

     

    @wyager

    I've had to use the purge command as well and I dont see any significant decrease in OS X performance as well. Either way, this shouldn't be happening. But like I said, I'll keep yall posted.

  • zai_chang Calculating status...

    +1

     

    I have a 2011 15" MBP 2.2Ghz 4GB RAM. And like you, I see kernel_task and Finder taking up over 1Gb of memory, which meant my system is only responsive if I only use Mail, Safari and NOT MUCH ELSE.

     

    Once I load up Xcode and try to do work? Forget about it ... page ins and page outs all the time.

     

    Loading the same exact programs, webpages etc worked fine on my 2008 MBP. This is utterly disappointing and I hope a fix is issued soon.

  • dotcom7722 Calculating status...

    It's not just MBP

     

    I have an iMac c2008 that has the same troubles.

     

    Sending/Receiving a lot of data.

    61 threads

     

    I unplugged all USB-Peripherals and external monitor which helped a little but not much.

     

    I've also been told it's not normal behavior.  I am having trouble with freezing and slow behavior which led me to this thread.  I see this problem has occured in the past.  I found threads from 2004 so I think it may be a reoccurrence of an old issue.  No answers this far but this post is the freshest thread.

  • LSUAMDG Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Downloaded OS X 10.6.8 and its seemed to have helped so far. I suggest doing that to help rectify the situation.

  • wyager Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    No go for me. I updated, and Kernel_task is using 460 megs on boot, total 860 megs active, 330 active, and 100 inactive.

  • rares.azoth Calculating status...

    Hi,

     

    I have the same problem.

    75 threads and 600MB real memory consumption.

    CPU averaging to 4%, enough to make the whole aluminium body quite hot.

     

    I have checked the Console app and in my case it seems it keeps (every 10 secs) complaining about not being able to load some resources required by CTLoader. I am sure this is what keeps it busy.

    Will try to fix and keep you guys posted.

     

    Rares

  • wyager Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    If you have the new macbook pro, 4% is actually only 4% of one virtual core, so it's actually just .5% CPU usage. This should not make your computer hot. Are you sure the kernel is complaining about CTLoader? Chances are it is a problem with a GUI application, specifically Vuze and Safari.

  • rares.azoth Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I have eliminated the CTLoader app. Console is now clean, but no change. the kernel_task is still averaging at roughly 4% CPU.

     

    Funny thing: I disconnected the power cable, in about 10 seconds memory usage dropped from 600MB to 400MBs and CPU usage dropped to 1%. Reconnecing the power cable brought it back to 3-4%...

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