mine's all the way over 1 GB for kernal_task real memory, even when I unplug my monitor and turn off blue tooth (for wireless mouse). I haven't noticed it before, but my computer was all bogged down for no apparent reason and I noticed kernal_task at the top of my activity monitor list.
I found this articles online, sounds like not many options without losing functionality
"Ultimately there is not much you can do to affect how kernel_task runs and manages the system. If you see the kernel_task process taking up a large amount of RAM on your system, there are a few options to reduce the RAM other than restarting your system. The first is to disable any hardware devices you may have attached to your system, such as external monitors, hard drives, or third-party audio or video interfaces. In addition, you can disable services like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth if you are not using them, and switch to using discrete graphics instead of the onboard GPU. The second thing you can do is quit programs and system services that use kernel extensions, such as the aforementioned Photo Booth, or graphics processing programs and games, especially if you are running with the integrated graphics card."
Hope it helps.
This thread is 11 pages long, so I hope Apple will pay attention. I also am having this problem, but with an interesting wrinkle.
I have a 2011 17" MBP with 4GB RAM. I use my computer in a certain way, pushing the limits of RAM usage to about 95% all the time. I used to run 8 iterm2's, keep open 3-4 finder windows, Adium, Skype, GotoMeeting, Chrome with about 30 tabs open, the X server, KeePassX, Camino, and OpenOffice. Occasionally I would need to stop X server or OpenOffice in order to keep my computer responsive. (Please do not bother to ask why I run multiple communications programs or multiple web browsers - I need/want to, and it was working just fine for months)
However, recently, my computer started having severe issues with my normal work usage. I run atMonitor all the time, and what usually is a "green field" aka RAM being used by user processes is now a "large red band + green field" aka RAM being used by kernel process.
So I've done everything suggested by all sorts of random Mac "experts." I've stopped every app from starting at startup. I've rebooted. I've installed software updates. I've disabled dashboard. I've disabled spotlight. Yes, I've done it all, and yet still upon boot up kernel_task is using about 1/5th my RAM, and I can only use about 50% the apps I used to use before my computer comes to a swapping death.
OS/X is very definitely trying to do SOMETHING, probably in a vain attempt at making my life better, but instead, it's far worse.
Since I am a computer professional, and I use my computer all day long for production-critical tasks, as you can imagine, I've put a LOT OF TIME into trying to fix this problem or at least even find a way to determine what is causing the problem, to no avail. As I am far from home on the road, this ***** doubly. I'm at about 75% productivity level (when I'm just working around the problem, I'm at 0% productivity when actively trying to solve this problem), and my clients are noticing.
At this point Apple just needs to take this problem seriously and issue a fix. Honestly, and this isn't hyperbole, I'm considering wiping OS/X off this thing and installing Linux. And that scares me, because Linux is such a huge timesuck. The whole reason I drank the Apple kool-aid was because I thought I could stop doing things like compiling my own kernels and hacking low-level OS internals just to use my computer. If Apple can't provide me with that, what's the point?
Thank you, Susann1, for the additional note.
@Eww, you are just full of antagonistic hatred of people having trouble with OS/X. We're having a real problem here. If you have nothing constructive to say, you could try saying nothing. I've seen threads where you've been asked to leave, and I'm starting to understand why.
Since Eww (and another) have suggested it, allow me to elaborate. Where I am now, RAM isn't $45. It's not even available. I have to do a five-hour ($45 each way) bus ride to the nearest town that sells RAM. So that's a minimum 10-hour commitment to buy RAM which will most certainly be far more than $45. 10x the normal silicon valley prices would not surprise me.
Never mind the fact that Susann1 is not the first person to note that you can double your RAM and still have this problem. So if I take this obviously bad advice from Eww, then I've wasted 10 hours across two working days, $490, and am still screwed.
Pure no-brainer, huh?
This MBP worked just fine up until a couple of weeks ago. So whatever this problem is could be really bad. It could be a new trojan or virus. By buying RAM and ignoring the problem, we could be causing real damage to the infrastructure of the internet (I'm being quite literal here - as botnets typically are used to cause DDOS).
If I were filled with "antagonistic hatred" (is there some other kind?) for people having trouble, why would I have spent many thousands of hours in these forums over the last sixteen or seventeen years trying to help them?
I'm sorry you don't like my suggestion, but if you have access to the internet and to mail or a delivery service, you can buy RAM without riding a bus for ten hours and sidestep your problem much more effectively than by waiting for Apple to solve it for you.
Eww, for the umpteenth time, just stop posting in this thread. You have not helped anyone, and you are wasting your (and our) time by replying.
In many countries, consumer and OEM electronics are ridiculously hard to get. Many countries (especially politically left ones with large social programs) have ridiculously high tarriffs, taxes, and other economic restrictions that make acquiring consumer electronics insanely expensive. If you ever want to vacation to a place like Brazil, you can pay for your vacation by buying a $300 laptop in the US and selling it for ten times that when you get to there. It's still cheaper for them than if they had purchased it legitimately and paid taxes on it. This is one of the reasons that the USA is a tech superpower; our tarriffs are not insanely high, and our sales taxes are manageable.
This is a legitimate problem and palliating it by throwing more RAM at it is not a solution. Apple needs to optimize the kernel or fix whatever is causing this.
And for the umpteenth time, wyager, you can't tell me or anyone else what to post or not to post here. Get off your dictatorial high horse and mind your own business. Disagree with me all you want, but quit giving orders.
Palliating a problem in any way that enables one to get one's work done efficiently can be worthwhile even if it costs more than it should and "isn't a solution," depending on how much it's costing NOT to be able to work efficiently. Only the individual with the problem can make the analysis for his particular situation -- but he needs to consider all the options, dismissing none of them out of hand.
Increasing the RAM is not a solution. The kernel_task will run amuck to the 8GB level instead of the 4GB level, and cause the same issues.
I guess many people have experienced exactly the same thing, but you're not paying attention.
I have experienced it first hand -- bought extra 4GB, but within a day I realized that it was a useless purchase for solving the kernel_task problem. Instead of that task taking up nearly 2.5GB of my 4GB old RAM, it started taking 6GB of my new 8GB RAM.
Only solution is to reinstall OSX Lion from scratch.
Because many (most?) users of Lion with 8, 12, or 16GB of RAM see no such outlandish RAM hogging by the kernel task as you have seen, it's clear that something is amiss on your MBP that isn't amiss on all of them, and probably isn't amiss on most of them. Your problem may not have the same cause(s?) as the problems of other people posting in this thread, since even they don't all report as extreme a problem as yours. So you may want to be a little more circumspect about predicting what will happen when someone else adds RAM. Adding RAM works out well for most people who do it, even if the kernel task does grab some of the upgrade.
Actually, ewww is right in this case. The new MBPs certainly have dramatically increased kernel_task RAM usage in comparison to their predecessors, but not always to the extent you and Cyberpundit describe. There appears to be two issues here — generally higher kernel_task usage under both 10.6 and 10.7, which I'm still betting is the integrated graphics, and the sort of crazy out-of-control kernel_task RAM destruction that you're experiencing.
Certainly in my case, upgrading to 8GB — which, happily was cheap for me — resolved most of the issues I'd been experiencing. The problem is that with kernel_task sucking up at least 500MB at startup, you're trying to run SL or Lion — two RAM-hungry OSes at the best of times, not to mention their problems with releasing inactive memory — with, effectively, 3.5GB of RAM. Throw in Safari and, say, Photoshop, and you'll encounter difficulties.
I'm not saying that this situation, where you almost need to upgrade to do any sort of serious multi-tasking etc, is ideal. I'm just saying that in many cases, adding RAM does resolve the issue. Clearly, if you find yourself in a situation like poor wyager, where upgrading RAM is impracticable, the issue is a huge pain.
wyager - have you considered a service like Shipito.com, by any chance?