15 February 2010

Not So Random Kernel Panics On Snow Leopard

The kernel panics are not random - cause they happen for a reason and a very disturbing reason at that: memory leaks in the kernel.

I found this issue discussed at a thread in InsanelyWind. Though you may not own an MSI Wind and thus, assume, that this is something entirely unrelated to you and your MacBook Mini, you may well be dead wrong.

Being the noob that I was and continue to be, I've consigned kernel panics I'd experience before on my HP Mini 1001TU running Snow Leopard as "random" and "expected" given the hacked nature of the entire setup.
*the screencap isn't Snow Leopard (Leopard 10.5.7 actually) - but I've experienced the same on Snow Leo on my Mini 1001TU when it was still alive and well. Screencap is Snow Leopard (kernel version 10.0.0)

Though the last part of the above statement - it being hacked and all - is validly true, the "random" part isn't. It's no random phenomenon that the kernel would panic. It's an event that's bound to happen because of at least one thing we're certain about: an ever growing "kernel task" figure.

According to the InsanelyWind thread, if you let your hackintosh running on Snow Leopard 10.6.2 even on idle for let's say 8 - 12 hours, you'd observe that the kernel_task figure blows up alarmingly fast. And then when it reaches beyond what your physical memory can contain - BOOM! Kernel Panic!

I haven't been checking my "kernel task" so I'll start and see if I'm affected on my Mini 311 as well (which I think is probably the case).
Via Activity Monitor > kernel_task, I see that my Mini 311 starts with around 74 MB and then steadily raises to upto about 135 MB but after a while, goes back down to 80 - 90 MB.


jccw said...

The kernel_task on my Mini 1000 (with 10.6.2) seems to grow, but quite slowly. About 49 MB after booting, 95 MB after a day of running a few programs but mostly sitting, not sleeping. And I never seem to have kernel panics (except when I've been messing with things). If I had to guess, I'd suspect some extension. I'm running exactly the set installed by Sam B's Snow Leopard EFI Boot: Part 3. This is with just 1 GB of memory, so it should certainly be at risk if anything is growing uncontrollably.

LeMaurien19 said...

^Thanks very much for the feedback, I still haven't checked - busy with work :(. But hopefully tonight I will.