Do CPUs Come With Thermal Paste? (Answered!)

With the increasing popularity of building custom PCs, many people find themselves curious about a wide variety of topics.

Most common question we hear often is, “Do CPUs come with thermal paste pre-applied?” Numerous DIY PC builders are often uncertain about whether they should buy extra thermal compounds in case their new processor or CPU does not come with pre-installed ones.

Even if you’ve never built your own computer or don’t understand the importance of using thermals, no worries I got you covered.

In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about whether processors include thermal paste and what benefits it provides.

Keep reading to get all your questions answered so that you can build confidently and keep your system running cool and efficiently for as long as possible.

Quick Answer: No, CPUs do not come with thermal paste preinstalled. Thermal paste is a thermal compound that serves as an interface between the CPU and the heat sink, allowing improved thermal conduction inside devices. Because the amount to use varies from one case to another and over time, users should determine the best way to apply it for their needs–purchasing it separately.

Do CPUs Come With Thermal Paste?

No, CPUs do not come with thermal paste pre-applied by the manufacturer.

Thermal paste is a component used to ensure effective heat transfer from the CPU to a heatsink or other cooling device.

Since thermal paste does have an expiration date and will eventually harden over time and become ineffective, it makes more sense for the user to be responsible for applying the thermal paste before installing a new CPU.

Applying thermal paste as part of your own installation can also ensure that it is applied evenly and in exactly the right amount.

Doing so will help your system run at its best while avoiding any issues with overheating.

How do I apply thermal paste to a CPU?

As you see in many tutorials and videos, applying thermal paste is a relatively straightforward process.

Step 1: Clean the CPU and Heat Sink Surfaces

Initially, applying thermal paste is to make sure that you have clean surfaces on both the CPU and heat sink.

You should use a non-abrasive cloth or swab to remove any dust or debris from the surfaces before you begin.

It’s also important to use an alcohol-based cleaner if there is any residue left on either surface after cleaning.

Step 2: Apply Thermal Paste to the CPU  

Once you have cleaned both surfaces, it’s time to apply the thermal paste.

You should spread an even layer of thermal paste across the entire surface of the processor using either a plastic bag or credit card as your applicator tool.

Make sure not to use too much thermal paste; otherwise, it could cause your processor to overheat.

Step 3: Place Heat Sink onto Processor

After you have applied the thermal paste, you should place the heat sink directly onto the processor so that it makes contact with all sides of the die.

Once you have done this, it’s important not to move or adjust the position of either component until you are finished with step 5 below.

Step 4: Secure Heat Sink with Screws (If Applicable)

If your heat sink has screws on its base plate then these need to be tightened securely into place before continuing with step 5 below.

Make sure not to overtighten them as this could cause damage to both components.

Step 5: Test for Proper Fitment

After all steps above are complete, you should test for proper fitment by powering up your system and running some stress tests on it for several minutes at a time while monitoring temperatures closely throughout each test cycle.

If everything looks good then congratulations – you have successfully applied thermal paste.

Is it OK to run a CPU without thermal paste?

It is not advisable to run a CPU without thermal paste, as it can cause serious damage to the processor.

Thermal paste acts as an interface between the physical components of the CPU such as the heat sink and the processor itself.

Without this layer of thermal paste, heat would not be able to properly dissipate from the processor, resulting in high temperatures that could lead to permanent damage or even total failure of the processor.

This can also put other components of your computer at risk, leading to premature wear and tear. With temperature regulation becoming increasingly important in higher-end processors, having effective thermal paste is essential for proper operation.

Beyond that, running a CPU without thermal paste can reduce its lifespan significantly and may lead to performance issues due to overheating.

This can cause stuttering in games or slowdowns in applications that are particularly intensive on the system’s resources.

How long does thermal paste last?

Typically, thermal paste should last for at least 2-4 years before it needs to be replaced.

Some enthusiasts recommend replacing the thermal paste more often than this if you are using your computer heavily as the paste can degrade over time due to heat exposure and normal wear and tear.

Beyond that, it’s important to keep an eye out for any signs of the thermal paste drying out or becoming ineffective.

If you notice that your system is running hotter than usual or that performance seems to be dipping, then it might be time to reapply thermal paste.

It’s also smart to periodically check on the condition of your thermal paste even if everything is working as expected; this could help you catch any issues before they become serious.

Final Verdict

It’s not uncommon for a new computer owner to wonder whether their CPU comes with thermal paste.

The answer is no, CPUs do not come with thermal paste pre-applied. Howeve, it is essential that you apply thermal paste correctly in order to ensure your CPU runs properly and safely.

Thermal paste should be applied evenly across the entire surface of the processor before placing the heat sink onto it and securing it with screws (if applicable).

Once all steps are complete, you should test for proper fitment by running some stress tests on your system while monitoring temperatures closely throughout each test cycle.


Do CPUs Need Thermal Paste at All?

Yes, CPUs need thermal paste in order to properly dissipate heat away from the processor and into the surrounding air. Without it, the processor would quickly overheat and suffer permanent damage or even fail altogether.

Do AMD and Intel CPUs Come With Thermal Paste?

No, AMD and Intel CPUs do not come with thermal paste pre-applied. You will need to purchase a tube of thermal paste separately in order to apply it properly.

Can I Reuse Thermal Paste?

It is generally not recommended to reuse thermal paste as the effectiveness of the material can degrade over time due to heat exposure and normal wear and tear. If you do decide to reuse thermal paste, be sure to check its condition carefully before reapplying it.

Can I Use Too Much Thermal Paste?

Yes, it is possible to use too much thermal paste which can lead to air bubbles or other forms of interference that can reduce the effectiveness of the compound. You should use the minimum amount needed to create a good contact between the processor and heat sink.

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