kernel_tas freezing OS X periodically, eating 95%+ CPU


I posted before about having trouble with OS X.1 freezing for 5 seconds every 10 seconds or so. CPU Monitor shows a huge system spike when this occurs. As time goes on, the periods of clear function get longer and longer, as do the freezes. I now have more info. With top -u, I have found the following is eating 95%+ of the CPU during these freezes:

0 kernel_tas 96.6% 7:07.78 22 0 - - - 21.9M 210M

Any insight on what might be causing this or how I can fix it?

G3/350 B&W
384 MB RAM (this problem started with 128, added 256 more with no effect)
40 GB Maxtor HD (added this since the problem started, installed OS X.1 on it with no effect)
6 GB HD (original, now slave)
wow, that sucks. but just so you know, if you have the Wacom Tablet Drivers installed, they cause the system to lock up every now and then for like 5 seconds. happens to me, but not every 5 seconds and for 10 seconds. dunno about your problem.
I've finally cracked it... it was an issue with one or more USB peripherals. Haven't tested each piece of hardware yet, but it was either the USB hub itself, my Microtek scanner, or my HP 697c printer. Once I unplugged the hub, OS X.1 works like a charm!