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I built my PC my self with a Core i3 4130 recently. It turned out that I forgotten to apply thermal paste after a time so I "unbuilt" it and removed the CPU fan. There was a big round thing on my CPU. I was afraid my CPU was burnt but no, it is sticky and it doesn't stink (so thermal paste).

  • Is it normal that there is already thermal paste?
  • I separated them for 20 minutes, is it worth cleaning and applying new thermal paste?
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This question might benefit from a picture of the CPU if it is possible to obtain one without causing excess disassembly and reassembly of the machine in question. – Jason Aller Jun 28 '14 at 17:59
Most stock heatsinks come with some pre-applied thermal paste. Personally I never use anything but arctic silver 5 but as long as somethings on there you should be good. – slow_excellence Jun 28 '14 at 19:28

Many CPU fans already have thermal paste on their lower surface. You should clean the surfaces on both and apply the paste again. If you use the existing paste, it can happen that it is not well distributed.

You can clean it with 99% isopropyl alcohol and a cloth.

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Thank you very much! – Vinz243 Jun 28 '14 at 17:58

Many times the CPU will ship with a thermal pad.

Once installed, and then removed (The bond of the paste broken) then you must clean and reapply. The pads and pastes work by eliminating air between the CPU and Heatsink (air being a relatively poor conductor). Attempting to reuse the pad will increase the air, thus reducing cooling.

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How do I clean it? – Vinz243 Jun 28 '14 at 17:56
Buy some concentrated isopropyl alcohol.… – AthomSfere Jun 28 '14 at 17:59
Linustechtips on youtube has some good beginners guides on building a computer. – slow_excellence Jun 28 '14 at 19:29
@techie007, good links. Although WD40 worries me as semi-penetrating lubricant... If some spilled onto the PCB I am not sure I would be comfortable with that as a risk. – AthomSfere Jun 28 '14 at 23:57

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