WARNING: wonky OSX may fry your MacBook (Pro)!

in Current Mac Hardware 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.



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