Wonky coreaudiod may fry your MacBook (Pro)!

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
OSX may fry your MacBook (Pro)!



'coreaudiod' apparently is a BSD process buried deep in root of OSX. You can see it in Activity Monitor. In some MacBooks and MacBook Pros coreaudiod gets unresponsive. That is not good for your sound! A deep system bug like this should be addressed poste haste by Apple!



But it gets worse:



In some of those MacBooks and MacBook Pros coreaudiod goes berserk when any app invokes any sound signal (like the Trash emptying): coreaudiod's CPU usage jumps from 0,0% to 99,9% in a heartbeat. The CPU, trying to keep the system alive, goes in overdrive. And overheats. Temp jumps to 90ºC/194ºF. And fans go ballistic.

Inserting an iPod earphone set plug seems to start off the mad caroussel as well.



Killing the process (in Activity Monitor) stops the overheating and the fan(s) going wild. But any of the above mentioned triggers it in a flash. Should that happen when you've just stepped away from your MacBook (Pro), the frenzy will go on too long, and your CPU will fry itself, I predict. POOF....



I sent Apple a complete crash ('bug') report. No response yet.



It required a whole disk erase and a completely fresh reinstall of Leopard OSX.4, a full Time Machine restore, an OSX.5.5 update, and a full permissions repair in Disk Utility to get my MacBook Pro back to apparently normal conditions as per before the coreaudiod (kernel) panic (?) set in!

But once I figured out that looked like the best m.o. it was only a matter of one and a half hours to get the machine back up 'in the air'.



Thank God for good backups...!

Though this whole circus cost me well over a whole workday to identify and repair. The local Apple 'Guru' (or whatever they're called) helped me think it through sofar. Nice guy. Sharp. With no backup from Apple!



Checking Activity Monitor though, after this whole fresh system creation and full data restore, coreaudiod is still "Not Responding". And red. You can't miss it. At 0,0% CPU usage. Temperature is back to normal, below 50ºC/120ºF, with short spikes to 65ºC/150ºF when it's working hard (like Photoshop rendering or Securely Erasing a batch), but quickly returning to normal when that process has run its course.

When I kill the unresponsive coreaudiod process, in Activity Monitor, system audio level (like a radio stream) drops significantly! The coreaudiod process is restarted immediately and you can see its CPU usage come to life for a half second when a sound signal is called (like Trash Erase).

It operates normally for a while, but an hour later slips back into unresponsiveness (red)...



So, what have we?

We have an unstable deep system software bug that may fry your MacBook or MacBook Pro...

That's worrying.



ARE YOU LISTENING, APPLE?

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 3
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,223moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rokcet Scientist View Post


    Should that happen when you've just stepped away from your MacBook (Pro), the frenzy will go on too long, and your CPU will fry itself, I predict. POOF....



    You predict wrong, Nostradamus. Computers are designed to be able to run at full CPU usage for a long time (a very long time). If it's only showing 99% in activity monitor, that's only half the CPU anyway on a dual core machine.



    The Finder can hang up like too btw if you click to preview a video in a format it doesn't recognize. I think Leopard has a timeout but Tiger doesn't.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rokcet Scientist View Post


    I sent Apple a complete crash ('bug') report. No response yet.



    They don't respond directly to crash reports. Bug reports via their online site. you'll be lucky to see a reply after a couple of months.
  • Reply 2 of 3
    If it doesn't fry your laptop's CPU this 'bug' – at 95ºC/200ºF – will cook your balls, Marvin! Plus the fan(s) make(s) a hell of a racket!

    That's a defective notebook! Manufacturer's error!
  • Reply 3 of 3
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,223moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rokcet Scientist View Post


    If it doesn't fry your laptop's CPU this 'bug' ? at 95ºC/200ºF ? will cook your balls, Marvin! Plus the fan(s) make(s) a hell of a racket!

    That's a defective notebook! Manufacturer's error!



    I have balls of steel. I agree that it shouldn't do this though and it is a bug. I recall noticing a daemon hanging up a lot a while back but I'm not sure if it was coreaudio. Something used to trigger it all the time. This wasn't with Leopard.



    I haven't seen anything like this for a while under 10.4. Maybe try what was suggested in this thread for 10.5:



    http://discussions.apple.com/thread....39947&tstart=0



    You can try sampling the coreaudiod process when it has hung up. It won't let you do this via Activity Monitor but in the terminal (/applications/utilities/terminal), you can type:



    sudo sample <pid> 10



    It will ask for your admin password. Instead of <pid>, type in the process id of coreaudiod - you can find this in Activity Monitor. This will generate a sample of coreaudiod over 10 seconds and write it to an output file in /tmp.



    In the terminal just type:

    open /tmp



    or use the Finder go menu > go to folder to get to /tmp. Then you can open the file. If you do submit a bug report to Apple, upload that sample so they can see what's going on. You can post it here if you like too.
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