Yeah, no more core shutdowns. But...

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by dudup, Sep 4, 2008.

  1. dudup macrumors regular


    May 28, 2008
    São Paulo, Brazil
    ... see what happens after 5 minutes watching a YouTube video inside Google Reader using Safari:

    And what happens the minute you quit Safari:

    Yes, there were a few apps running:

    - Safari itself, with just one tab open;
    - Entourage
    - Mail
    - Keynote
    - Adium
    - iTunes
    - Cisco VPN

    And using a 1280 x 1024 external display.

    I run this setup the whole day, everyday, and I won't get any slowdowns at all. Machine is snappy and quick as it is meant to be. CPU usage never gets past 25%.

    However, whenever I watch over 5 minutes of a YouTube video, there it goes: CPU usage goes like this, machine becomes completely unresponsive, mouse cursor lags, the YT video frame rate drops below 1 fps, audio stutters -- EXACTLY like a classical Core Shutdown!

    This so called fix Apple released two weeks ago is a completely make up to cover the problem, but it won't hide good enough.

    Yes, this is happening way less than before, probably because of the aggressive CPU throttling that other users reported.

    But there's a major hardware design or manufacturing issue which I feel it won't be solved at all.

    I'm really tired, I'm going to face the support procedures. Unfortunately, I live in Brazil, and this machine was bought on US, so I think I'm going to face some trouble to get this solved, but that's it: I'm tired of waiting for a solution.

    This is a wonderful machine. Some may point that it's not powerful, but a 1.6ghz Core 2 Duo with 2 GB of RAM should be more than enough to open 2 or 3 office applications while browsing the web with a IM and an email software open.

    And it can't!

    I would do much more better than this using a G4 Mac Mini with 512 MB of RAM -- yeah, it would took more time to do other tasks, but it wouldn't fail on me like this on a so simple situation like watching a crappy pixelated video on the web.

    Sorry about the rant, but I patiently waited months for a solution, and now I'm completely pissed off. :mad:

    Attached Files:

  2. r.j.s Moderator emeritus


    Mar 7, 2007
    More than likely the problem is flash. Flash video is VERY processor intensive, and causes my MB to ramp all the way up when I watch more than a few minutes of video.

    I think this is something we'll all have to live with until a better flash player comes out.
  3. dudup thread starter macrumors regular


    May 28, 2008
    São Paulo, Brazil
    r.j.s, yeah, it's quite evident. flash is the ********* thing running on OSX these days, but c'mon, there's something in the air... :p
  4. JG271 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 17, 2007
    Yeah, its the same for almost all macs. I'm using the flash 10 public beta on a mac mini, it seems quite a lot better, and doesn't send my fan whirring like flash 9 did.
  5. dudup thread starter macrumors regular


    May 28, 2008
    São Paulo, Brazil
    I've installed Flash Player 10 beta, but it's the same thing. MBA becomes completely overhauled after a few minutes of video.

    I know that Flash itself has a awful performance on Macs -- my 2.4ghz 4GB iMac gets about 70% of CPU usage when playing video full screen.

    But the point here is that my MBA is behaving pretty much like the core shutdown issue. It seems to me that the patch only does a makeup work, hiding the core shutdown issue.
  6. dudup thread starter macrumors regular


    May 28, 2008
    São Paulo, Brazil
    Definitely not a Flash issue.

    I was watching yesterday's Apple keynote on iTunes that I downloaded this morning, and got another excessive CPU usage after playing it for 5 minutes or so.

    Then I turned off everything, disabled animations and all kinds of stuff you can imagine, and rebooted my MBA.

    By just running a regular iTunes video podcast, I get massive CPU usage and sluggishness after some minutes. If I'm not running anything, it will take longer to happen, but the thing is: it will.

    Here are full screenshots of every step:

    1) - Just rebooted the machine, CPU & RAM footprint is at minimum:

    2) - Started to watch the video on iTunes, low CPU usage as expected:

    3) - 3 minutes watching it, everything's under control, CPU running really fine:

    4) - 20 minutes later, BOOM, kernel_task goes completely mad, frames dropped like crazy, mouse erratic, fans kicking, babies crying:

    Notice how just pausing the video for a few seconds lowers CPU usage. Starting playing again, and everything starts stuttering:

    So, here we are: this fix is a lie. It didn't solve anything, it is just a patch that puts a make over on it.

    My MBA is top notch. I happen to reinstalled OS X by the day the update did, just right after updating to 10.5.4 (via combo update). I've installed almost nothing on it (iWork 08, Office 2008, Yahoo! Messenger, M-Audio Torq).

    Machine is as fast as it could be almost 99% of the time, but it can't watch a stupid movie.

    I really don't know what to do, as I am in Brazil, and I don't think the official 3rd party tech shops will do anything about it.

    Any suggestions (besides selling it and grabbing a heavy but lovely MBP?)
  7. Star-fire macrumors 6502

    Jul 4, 2007
    While a MBP isn't all that heavy (I swear it's lighter then they say it is, lighter them my Macbook was and it shouldn't be) but some people have had luck with replacing the thermal grease on the heat-sink if you are up to that kind of thing. I did it on my Macbook as it ran hot and it dropped temps a good 6-7 degrees
  8. pgharavi macrumors regular


    Nov 25, 2004
  9. dudup thread starter macrumors regular


    May 28, 2008
    São Paulo, Brazil
    I had a MacBook Pro, love it, but I don't need its processing power. I have a wonderful iMac at home for that purpose.

    And as usual, once you get used to something more lighter/speedier/better/whatever is amazing how you can't go back. It's the human nature! :D

    So, since I have no options, I'll try Coolbook again. I have a license, but I'm not using it since I just wanted to play by the book as Apple recommended.

    But now it seems I have no more options, so...
  10. Sesshi macrumors G3


    Jun 3, 2006
    One Nation Under Gordon

    Flash on a Sony UX390N: Core Solo (and not even 2) 1.33, Vista Business, 1Gb RAM, running Outlook syncing a ~10Gb offline folder, creating a new Excel document livelinking to several other spreadsheets, and also Word starting a new document - and driving an external monitor + own display as an extended display.

    Virtually all of the Office suite, by the way, cranks up faster on the UX than the equivalent on the Air.

    You're so right. It just beggars belief that the slowest, crappiest (in terms of performance) Windows Vista machine I've used outstrips the Air in many everyday activities especially when the weather is warm, while not requiring software that intentionally cripples it further - and it also beggars belief to a certain extent that people are espousing / recommending this complete piece of crap just because it looks great - or because maybe they genuinely don't know better.
  11. dudup thread starter macrumors regular


    May 28, 2008
    São Paulo, Brazil
    Now you're talking!

    I love the MBA but I can't feel like recommending this for anyone. A friend of mine was heading to NY last month and was completely passionate about buying her first Apple, specifically, a MBA. I couldn't let her do it.

    Once they get this thing working fine I may be able to do so. I see some users reporting their MBAs never had any of these core-shutdown / kernel_task issues, but there are tons of people around here suffering with it.

    What amazes me the most is that the 99% of the time it's a wonderful machine, with a surprising performance. I can run tons of office and internet apps simultaneously with the cpu yawning.


    There's something in the air!
  12. bluetanta macrumors newbie

    Sep 13, 2008
    Interesting results. No interpretations.

    Now I've been having this problem for about a year. Same thing--once I start a youtube video or visit a webpage with flash content my 12" powerbook starts acting up, CPU usage skyrockets, and the internal temperature of the powerbook get so hot that it triggers an emergency sleep.

    I've tried everything. Repaired Permissions. Applejack. Archive and Install. And even a complete Leopard erase and install. Nothing.

    However--now it gets interesting!--by accident I stumbled upon a solution that works. For some unclear reason, I had shut down and restarted the computer five times in a row, and then miraculously all my troubles were gone. I could have watched youtube videos all day without incident. I put it to sleep and fired up safari again, and it still worked. It wasn't until I shut down (I was bringing it on the airplane) and restarted that the problem resurfaced and my computer was back to its old ways.

    From time to time I'm able to recreate this. Sometimes it takes four shutdown-restart-cycles, sometimes five, six, even seven. I'm can't be bothered to try eight or beyond. Nonetheless, it works when it does.

    Can anybody else recreate this? or have an explanation? I'm interested.

    BTW, I have a 1.5GHz PowerPC G4 with 768MB of RAM. Thanks.

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