2005 15" PB experiencing high kernel_task load with Tiger

Discussion in 'macOS' started by kubark42, May 15, 2005.

  1. kubark42 macrumors member

    Mar 17, 2005
    I did an Erase & Install with Tiger and am now experiencing an idle kernel_task CPU usage of 7-8%. This is with no background tasks running whatsoever, with no programs in the startup folder. This is not spotlight, mds and mdiport finished a long time ago, and I do not have and never had Virex installed.

    I don't think I'm the only one, as I've chanced across no small number of posts referring to PBs and high CPU loads, especially with new PBs.

    In contrast, I have a Mac mini that has basically the same configuration, only no wifi or bluetooth and a 1.42GHz G4, and it has a kernel_task load of %0.2 at idle. This is with the exact same software installed and running, with the only difference being the mini was Erase & Installed with OS 10.3 and then immediately upgraded to Tiger.

    Clearly, something is wrong, and I don't seem to be the only one experiencing it. Is this a known bug in PBs? Perhaps a driver error? Or are Mini owners with wifi and/or bluetooth also seeing this problem?
  2. Applespider macrumors G4


    Jan 20, 2004
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    I've got an older 2004 PB which is running between 1-2% on its kernal task although with a ridiculously high figure in VM (1.05GB!)

    I did read somewhere that Spotlight kept running if you had a lot of temporary files that might cause a glitch (something to do with it trying to index things like newsreaders when they were temp files going into the trash) or if you used Eudora/Entourage where every time a mail arrives, Spotlight tries to index the entire mailbox database again.

    Any of that sound applicable to your case?
  3. kubark42 thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 17, 2005
    Nope. And it can't be spotlight because, as I understand, spotlight is only the mds and mdiport, whereas this is kernel_task.

    I find it interesting that your 2004 PB runs where it should, like the Mac Mini sitting right next to me.

    Furthermore, I just noticed that iTunes on the Mac Mini uses 4-8%, whereas on my PB, playing the same mp3, it's using 10-15%. What gives???
  4. woodsey macrumors regular

    Nov 15, 2001
    I have the same problem, but worse!

    I have a 15" 2005 PB 1.67 running 10.4.1 and my kernel_task takes up about 30% of CPU.

    Only way I can get it back down (to about 6%) is by restarting. Even then, as soon as i open a few apps it jumps back to 30%.

    This is really annoying. I dont care if its making my computer run slower or whatever, but it really reduces my battery life when im away from my desk, which is really frustrating.

    anyone got any ideas?
  5. kubark42 thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 17, 2005
    I called Apple two nights ago and started a bug on this problem. The TSR said it was the first time he'd heard of the problem, then managed to reproduce it, actually listened to me when I said that this is happening to PBs everywhere, and escalated me to level 2 tech support within 5 minutes (quel service!). The level 2 guy told me that they'd have an answer in 3-5 days. Stay tuned...


    P.S. I assume that since you're running 10.4.1 you must be in the ADC. Why not call and file another bug with Apple? You can reference my case #48706142 to see if they've already got a solution. If they haven't, this'll put a bee in their bonnet to get it done.
  6. beaster macrumors member


    Jan 19, 2005
    Has something to do with the trackpad

    I have a Rev. D 12" PB which I just loaded Tiger onto (totally clean install). I notice the same thing in top - kernel_task sits around the same percentage CPU as top itself. This can be anywhere from 4-8% depending on what I have the processor performance set to in Energy Saver (8% when set to Automatic, around 4-5% when set to Highest).

    BUT - if I don't use the trackpad for a while and just use my mouse, then kernel_task drops down to 0.2% or so and stays there. The minute I start using the trackpad again, up pops kernel_task.

    I'd be curious to know if others w/PB's see the same behavior.

  7. kubark42 thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 17, 2005
    Hey, that's really good and explains why when I was on the phone with apple the kernel_task dropped to 0.2% and then jumped up to 8% as soon as I changed windows. In restrospect, I obviously hadn't touched the touchpad for a moment.

    I'm beginning to suspect that the drivers for the in-house USB touchpad are provoking this problem which would explain *perfectly* why only recent PBs, and not older ones nor Minis nor iBooks, are seeing this problem.

    I'm going to call Mac today and find out if they've resolved this problem. If they haven't, I'm going to clue them off to this track.


    P.S. I have precisely the same behavior when I change the energy savings level.
  8. freeorangeshoes macrumors member

    Dec 27, 2004
    same thing here on a rev. d 12".

    beaster: how is the ram upgrade for the 12"? im considering doing the same thing on an identical PB...notice a huge difference? play any games like simcity or rise of nations?
  9. me_94501 macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2003
    iBook G4 1.2 GHz, kernel_task is eating about 20% of my CPU under 10.4.1. It's not just PowerBooks.
  10. me_94501 macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2003
    I do often have NewsFire running, but even when it isn't the CPU usage is still high.
  11. me_94501 macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2003
    Hmm, it seems to be directly linked to my dialup connection here at home (don't laugh; hoping to get onto something else soon). When I connect, it jumps from under 1% to 20%. When I disconnect, it drops back down.
  12. kubark42 thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 17, 2005
    I'm going to guess that while it's a bug, it's not at all the same thing. Your computer CAN calm down, whereas ours don't.

    Still, there seem to be a lot of heat related bugs with Tiger. I wonder how on earth there could be so many? I know that my windows machines consume far less CPU just sitting idle. Is there something different in the Mac API that demands that programs always make lots of calculations?
  13. James Philp macrumors 65816

    James Philp

    Mar 5, 2005
    Sorry for being a bit smug, but on a PB G3 500 I don't get these problems!
    Hope you guys get sorted out!
  14. bluemouse macrumors member

    May 1, 2005
    Fairfax, VA
    Rev. D 12" PB here. Same thing- low usage when I use a USB mouse. The minute I put my finger on the trackpad, it shoots up. Never noticed it until I saw this thread; maybe that's why I feel my battery usage is a bit worse than I expected.

  15. efoto macrumors 68030

    Nov 16, 2004
    Cloud 9 (-6)
    Just to narrow things a little more, can anyone with an Apple (or otherwise) BT mouse run a few basics tests to see if the problem is present with that mousing setup as well.
    Do those of you noticing the problem have trackpad disabled when mouse is present (I'm assuming not)? Disable it once, and then try mousing around for a bit, see if there is a difference. If there is no other mouse present and the trackpad is enabled, does it only spike when you two-finger scroll or during normal one-finger moving/selecting?

    I am on a 12" Rev.D PB, but I'm still on 10.3.9 since I am traveling in another country for work and don't feel like upgrading until I get home. I just check my kernel_task and it is usually around .5-2% CPU, occassionally spikes to around 10-12%, but only for a moment and only when expected (open apps, Expose-crazy just to test).
  16. mj_1903 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 3, 2003
    Sydney, Australia
    Sounds like there is an issue with something either sending way too many messages to the kernel or more likely the kernel sending way too many messages back.

    In theory kernel_task should never get above 5% unless you are under extreme load across multiple threads.

    I can see the same problem as well so I will get on the case. Time to open radar again for the umteenth time since Tiger beta.
  17. Lacero macrumors 604


    Jan 20, 2005
    This same thing happened with early versions of Panther. It took until 10.3.7 before it was under control in my case. Kernel_Task is running at 0.4% right now. A clean install and no third-party hacks may help to bring kernel_task under control.
  18. lukasgasser macrumors newbie

    May 20, 2005
    Hi There

    Got the same problems with my PowerBook G4 15". My kernel Task takes about 4% cpu load.

    I found out, that's a problem with the Trackpad. The Application "Shark" of the DevTools shows that clearly!

    try the following: In Terminal enter:
    "sudo kextunload /System/Library/Extensions/AppleUSBTopCase.kext/Contents/PlugIns/AppleUSBTrackpad.kext/"

    cpu usage will drop to 0.2%

  19. kubark42 thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 17, 2005
    Well, it only got it down to 2% for me, but that's progress. Except now of course my trackpad doesn't work anymore. Well, you win some you lose some.

    I just called Apple and told their engineers about the problem. They said they'd get right on it.
  20. beaster macrumors member


    Jan 19, 2005

    Ha. Yes, well, I'd wager that my 1.5 GHz G4 with kernel_task at 25% will still beat the pants off of your G3. :)

  21. Agathon macrumors 6502a


    Jan 19, 2004
    I'm having this problem with 10.3.9 and a 12" PowerBook. It's not a big deal, but it is definitely trackpad related.
  22. sircharles macrumors newbie


    May 28, 2005
    I was getting the same with my PB only when running Azureus, See Picture 1 and when not running kernel_task CUP usage is low.

    I have had my PB crashing from this and had to press shutdown button to getout.

    Azureus 2.3.x.x.



    Attached Files:

  23. yinyang macrumors regular

    Aug 14, 2003
    sunny brisbane
    have you got java 1.5 for the new azureus?

    i eventually dropped azureus 2.3 for bits of wheels (again) since that is now tiger compliant. works fine now :)

    however i'm still having problems with my G4 1.5 PowerBook after 3 iinstalls (last was upgrade from a clean 10.3), though mine isn't a kernel_task, it's still very laggy....takes forever to start up and and show all the menu bar items, and hard drive sounds like it's always trying to access something (i've let spotlight re-index), so i may just turn off spotlight and see how that goes.

    not happy jan...! :(
  24. sircharles macrumors newbie


    May 28, 2005
    yes, I have Java 1.5 installed and set this is my current release:

    [/Users/sc] -> java -version
    java version "1.5.0_02"
    Java(TM) 2 Runtime Environment, Standard Edition (build 1.5.0_02-56)
    Java HotSpot(TM) Client VM (build 1.5.0_02-36, mixed mode, sharing)
    [/Users/sc] ->

    note: I am experiencing this whendownloading and bandwidth is high, same is now happening with limewire. I only have 1 Mb line.

  25. supafly1703 macrumors regular

    Jul 11, 2004

    I had an unusually high kernal_task cpu % and narrowed the problem down to the new tiger firewall feature that makes you invisible to potential hackers and people trying to break through your firewall..forget the name. "Silent mode" maybe? It is in the Sharing preference pane I believe. Found out by looking at the System.log in the Console app. Hope this might be helpful.

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