Why is Kernel_Task Hogging So Much RAM?

HappyDude20

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Jul 13, 2008
2,835
284
Los Angeles, Ca
Screenshot included.

Was checking out to see where all my RAM was going, though admittedly haven't seen any lag.. except in Safari but has ceased since the software update for the rMBP came out a few days ago.

Still, I see Kernel_Task is hogging up the most memory and was wondering if any Mac aficionados suggest if I could do something about it.

In 2nd place comes Safari Web Content. Am I safe to assume this is "WebKit?"
I downloaded it a week ago cause Safari kept lagging on the page scrolls, but since the update this issue is gone.

3rd is Window Server, don't know if this is anything major..and 4th is Safari, which I would assume thats just the way it is.
 

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justperry

macrumors G4
Aug 10, 2007
10,503
5,943
I'm a rolling stone.
Same here, from a new startup it already is about 1.2 GB, total RAM usage just after a restart is 2.1-2.2 GB, what the hell, got a new Mini a couple of weeks ago, before that I was on Leopard, more or less 200 MB from a clean startup.
Luckily I got a free 8 GB RAM upgrade otherwise half of the memory was already lost on the OS, WTF, what's wrong with ML?
 

benwiggy

macrumors 68020
Jun 15, 2012
2,184
15
Mountain Lion will use the RAM available. If you have lots of RAM, then ML will use lots of RAM.
My kernal_task is using 1.82 Gb on my Mini with 16 Gb, but 580Mb on my MacBook with 6Gb.
If you've got 8Gb RAM free, then using 2 of that for the OS is not abnormal or wrong.
Leopard was designed for older computers with much smaller RAM sizes.

Unless there is an actual problem, like SBoDs, hanging, waiting for disk, or something else, then using all the RAM is not in itself a problem.
 

Isamilis

macrumors 6502a
Apr 3, 2012
721
137
Just for comparison, in macbook air 2012 8GB ram (10.8.2):
- kernel_task 673mb
- WindowServer 85.6
Maybe, it is because of rMBP?
 

justperry

macrumors G4
Aug 10, 2007
10,503
5,943
I'm a rolling stone.
Mountain Lion will use the RAM available. If you have lots of RAM, then ML will use lots of RAM.
My kernal_task is using 1.82 Gb on my Mini with 16 Gb, but 580Mb on my MacBook with 6Gb.
If you've got 8Gb RAM free, then using 2 of that for the OS is not abnormal or wrong.
Leopard was designed for older computers with much smaller RAM sizes.

Unless there is an actual problem, like SBoDs, hanging, waiting for disk, or something else, then using all the RAM is not in itself a problem.
Guess you're right, but I still think it's too much, esspecially with Apple's exorbitant RAM prices.:p
 

w0lf

macrumors 65816
Feb 16, 2013
1,233
75
USA
2010 macbook pro 8gb ram

556mb for my kernal task

My guess is it has something to do with the fact that you have a retina machine? 1.8 GB does sound pretty excessive but if it's not causing you lag I don't really see any reason to worry.

 

edgarp

macrumors newbie
Dec 2, 2012
9
0
I have an MBA that starts with 888 mb and I can see it go up to 1.01 gb starting only activity manager and a browser. by mid day 1.5. While i have 8gb men, i use a VM which takes 4 gb...so i am done early in the day.

I do not recall it doing this in the past so has to be something else
 

macman34

macrumors regular
Apr 13, 2013
174
0
For no other reason that they 've not put their due diligence in optimizing ram use in os x, since, well, forever. And now what with the programming teams being frantically shifted again to ios 7 after the cock up that was ios 6, to the detriment of os x once more, things don't look too hopeful. Just make sure you have a mac with upwards of 8gb of memory and a fast ssd if you want to do some serious work on your machine, and don't rely on apple fixing things sofware wise. That's just how it is sadly and we'll have to make do with it.
 

edgarp

macrumors newbie
Dec 2, 2012
9
0
does not make sense. I look at this number a lot and only recently it has started to bloat. I almost think it is taking memory something recently installed or worse, recently deleted. I use virtual machines a lot and have gone from VMware fusion to parallels then back and now back to parallels. Somewhere in that month time frame this happened.
 

tpth

macrumors member
Oct 4, 2007
46
0
There's a big discussion about this somewhere on the Apple Discussion Forums. Pretty sure that at least part of it is the RAM used by the integrated GPU.
 

mentaluproar

macrumors 68000
May 25, 2010
1,731
130
Ohio, USA
I forget the accurate explanation of how kernel_task works, but its something like caching the hell out of the OS. That's a poor explanation, but it will have to do.

OSX uses every resource available to it. It's very clever about diving things up. If you see very little free memory but lots of inactive memory, thats one example of OSX being clever. it will free up memory when its needed, and hold on to old data just in case so it wont have to load it all over again.

As long as you dont see lots of page outs, you are just fine.
 

RandomlyGener8d

macrumors newbie
Apr 30, 2014
1
0
To those people saying OSX is being clever about using all resources available, as far as I can tell, this is not the case for the kernel_task, specifically because after the memory is hogged up by kernel_task, it starts using virtual memory(Swap) and this is where the system really starts slowing down.

So it is not being smart, it is out of control.

@tpth do you have a link to the Apple Discussion Forums thread? Really need to find a solution to this.. thanks.
 

luckybucky

macrumors newbie
Apr 2, 2014
3
0
I need to chime in. My kernel_task is using 6.58 GB of real memory. Don't get it. But wanted some feedback.
 

bumblebritches5

macrumors 6502
Nov 7, 2012
299
27
To those people saying OSX is being clever about using all resources available, as far as I can tell, this is not the case for the kernel_task, specifically because after the memory is hogged up by kernel_task, it starts using virtual memory(Swap) and this is where the system really starts slowing down.

So it is not being smart, it is out of control.

@tpth do you have a link to the Apple Discussion Forums thread? Really need to find a solution to this.. thanks.
the kernel is THE core component of the OS, it passes messages, allocates memory, etc for all the other components. if you don't believe me, kill the process with sudo KILL -9 and see what happens.
 
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