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The thermal paste in my laptop's CPU's heat sink kind of looks like a thermal pad. I'm little confused about what it is, and if I should clean it off...here is an image of the thermal paste or pad and the CPU:

heat sink

cpu

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    It's a thermal paste pad; unless it's dried out you really should not replace it – Ramhound Aug 16 '14 at 18:56
  • Thermal paste would barely cover the chip and would be much thinner. This is a thermal pad. – Hennes Aug 16 '14 at 18:59
  • I cleaned out the center of the (thermal-pad ? thermal-paste-pad?) because I thought I could put my mx-2 in there...but I guess not...Which is it? A thermal-pad or a thermal-paste-pad? – leeand00 Aug 16 '14 at 19:03
  • Now that you removed the heat sink, it’s imperative to replace the paste/pad/mystery goo. Otherwise, proper heat dispersal cannot be guaranteed. Only when you remove it immediately after applying new paste can you mount it again without replacing the paste. – Daniel B Aug 16 '14 at 19:54
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It is a thermal pad, now you need to remove it and clean all the cooper and the micro. Then you can use another thermal pad that fits or simply put a bit of thermal paste (like one grain of rice) on the microprocessor.

enter image description here

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