Released June 2012, Model A1278. Intel processor with Turbo Boost, Up to 512 MB DDR5 Video RAM

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Kernel_task using loads of CPU

A friend tried to update their Mac to Sierra but the update failed part way through. Now the computer she tried the install on is running its fans constantly and the CPU usage is bouncing between 80%-200% almost entirely due to kernel_task.

I've tried reseatting all the connectors on the board as well as an SMC reset and PRAM reset. I've also cleaned out the fans. Online people are suggesting messing around with system files, I'd prefer to avoid that solution if possible.

Computer Specs: http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/ma...

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First a common problem in this series is worn HD SATA cable. You may want to first replace it.

As you didn't give us which model you have here I can't tell you what guide to follow or what you'll need for parts. Go to this site: EveryMac - Lookup and plug the systems S/N in it will spit out your systems specs. Once you have it paste the URL here so we also know.

In any case you may need to wipe the drive down and re-install the OS.

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I updated my post. However I'm currently booting it off a separate drive that I know works and am still experiencing the problem, could it be a firmware problem?

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Firmware issues wouldn't give you panics. More likely you have a bad memory module if it is in fact a hardware level issue.

Double check you in fact booted up on your external drive. Restart the system and when you hear the bong (see the Apple Logo) press and hold the option key to get to the boot manager, then select your external drive from here.

Here's a good Apple TN listing of the basic startup keys: Startup key combinations for Mac

Take one RAM module out and see if its stable then move the module to the other socket still failing? If it is swap out the modules and repeat testing both slots. Let us know what you find. I'm assuming you didn't alter the RAM. If you did upgrade it go back to the older modules.

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