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Old Mar 28, 2013, 05:51 PM   #1
Makosuke
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: The Cool Part of CA, USA
Silverlight (Netflix) causing kernel CPU overload

I was working on a 13" 2010 MBP that's severely misbehaving during Netflix streaming (the Silverlight plugin; I assume other things with Silverlight would behave similarly, but I don't know of any easy tests). The problem started abruptly a couple of weeks ago; the user said that nothing got installed at the time.

Symptom: Open a video in Netflix and let it run for a minute; after a short while (few seconds to a minute at most), kernel CPU usage will spike to consume any CPU not being used by the plugin itself, resulting in the entire UI slowing to a crawl--mouse lag, video choppy, etc. Flash works fine, everything else I tested was fine; just Silverlight. Disabling hardware acceleration in Silverlight did not help.

Everything is up-to-date; 10.8.3, Silverlight latest 5.1 update, FireFox 19 (problem also happens with Chrome). Nothing else running, reboots don't help, plenty of RAM, no kernel extensions installed, no obvious messages in Console (apart from messages relating to UI lag due to the kernel overload). I tried booting into Safe Mode, then back to clear the kext cache, which also didn't help. Removed Silverlight, reinstalled from a fresh download, no good.

Only non-stock things that are installed are VMWare Fusion and some sort of GoPro camera video kit.

I'm sort of stumped; I assume that Silverlight is conflicting with something else and causing the kernel to freak out, but I can't even find anything else to disable. I'm assuming it's not a Silverlight/10.8.3 conflict, or there'd be tons of Netflix users complaining.

Any suggestions?
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Old May 1, 2013, 07:34 PM   #2
Dr.Porky
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Join Date: May 2013
Having the same issue since yesterday...

I am experiencing the exact same issue. Haven't found much info on the problem. Any luck yet?

Mine is: MBP Mid-2010 10.8.3

I originally thought it was an issue with my usb mouse, but, using the track pad gives the same choppy results.

As for streaming, it seems to be ALL video streaming. I've checked multiple streaming sites using everything from Silverlight to Flash to Divx... all choppy and irritating.
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Old May 3, 2013, 02:49 AM   #3
Makosuke
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: The Cool Part of CA, USA
I haven't gotten another crack at the machine yet, but none of the places I've asked for suggestions have had anything particularly promising.

I will note that the problem this particular machine was seeing was unquestionably ONLY with Silverlight--Flash was just fine. To be clear, you're also seeing the very high kernel CPU use? (Which will result in not just choppy video playback, but the entire UI all but seizing up.)

Assuming you're also having the runaway kernel problem, I'm actually inclined to think it's something different than the problem the computer I was working on was having, just because mine was exclusive to Silverlight, while yours is happening with a variety of video playback. Yours actually sounds like a graphics driver problem--like things that are trying to use accelerated graphics might be causing issues. Do 3D games work okay? What about if you open a video in QuickTime player (or iTunes--try a movie trailer if you don't have anything handy) and expand it to fullscreen?
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