To the Mac Experts: kernel_task Question

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by MM07, Jun 21, 2008.

  1. MM07 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 10, 2008
    I am still relatively a new Mac user (5 months so far). As per my sig specs I have 4g RAM in my MacBook.

    I use istat and I am always aware of my RAM usage.

    After I installed FF3, I noticed my RAM usage has gone way up. I also tried FF2 after and it still was up in usage.

    Even when I have FF closed I still have 1g of RAM being used.

    I then noticed in activity monitor that kernel_task is using 232 mB of RAM right now. What is it and what is it doing?

    I have installed ONYX and cleared all caches, etc... It seemed to have help for a few hours, then the RAM usage has crept back up.

    Normally, with FF2 open I still would have maybe 3.2 of free RAM.

    I'm not sure if I'm missing something or is this normal?

    Any thoughts?
  2. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
  3. ddoonie macrumors regular

    Jun 4, 2008
    I'm fairly certain the original poster was not asking what a kernel_task was, but more if the excessive ram usage is normal. I am having the same issue, and i know what the kernel_task is, but i dont know what is causing its excessive ram usage. I was seeing near 200mb of ACTIVE ram and 6% cpu usage, where as an a freshly rebooted MBP, my kernel_task is at 65mb...

    He seems to think it is related to FF3, which is possible as i have recently installed it myself, but i thought it was my newly installed vmware (

    Can anyone state what their kernel_task is reporting as using in active and passive memory?
  4. Avenger23 macrumors regular


    Dec 28, 2001
    Clovis, NM
    On my MBP the kernel_task process is showing 65MB of real memory being used and 334MB of virtual memory, and my iMac is showing 56MB of real memory and 291MB of virtual memory. Both computers are using Mac OS X v10.5.3. Hope this info will help!
  5. ddoonie macrumors regular

    Jun 4, 2008
    Thanks for that Avenger!

    No matter what, i seem to have 1 gig in virtual memory, even on reboot.

    Can you state how long you've been running your MBP for? Im curious if it creeps up slowly...

    Newest programs i am running that may cause this, is my new install of VMware and firefox 3. Maybe we can draw parallels as to what the culprit is?

    thanks again
  6. Avenger23 macrumors regular


    Dec 28, 2001
    Clovis, NM
    At the time I posted my MBP kernel_task running time was at 19:48 and the iMac was right after turning it on to check it.
  7. CJRhoades macrumors 6502

    Dec 4, 2007
    Lafayette, IN
    I just rebooted my Tibook about 10 minutes ago and my kernal_task is eating 79MB of RAM.
  8. Templex macrumors regular

    Jul 12, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Mine is using 117 MB of real memory. As long as you don't notice any suboptimal performance then don't worry about it.
  9. ihabime macrumors 6502

    Jan 12, 2005
    The way the ram display in activity monitor works is that Free ram is ram that hasn't been used, active and inactive ram are ram that contain running programs, but also caches of programs you've quit, documents you've opened and websites you've visited so that they will open quicker the next time you launch them. Basically everything but wired memory is available to be used if a program needs it. OSX overwrites the older cached info when an active program needs that memory, it's just as quick as accessing free ram.

    what you want to watch is the page outs count, that shows you when an application is using so much ram that OSX has to swap another applications memory to disk to make room, even then some swapping is normal.
  10. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

    Nov 13, 2003
    Mine is using 217 mb of real ram. 1.43 gb of virtual. I don't think its anything to worry about unless you notice slow down. OS X is great at managing RAM however it sometimes it appears it isn't. Its deceiving.
  11. thirty-four macrumors newbie

    Feb 22, 2009

    Somehow I don't think these numbers are accurate. Unless my PowerBook G4 was mysteriously upgraded by magical gnomes to 17 EXAbytes of storage! :eek:

    Attached Files:

  12. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

    Nov 13, 2003
    Good to know OS X was designed to expand. I want that hardware though. :p

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