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The Sticky Truth: Do CPUs Come with Thermal Paste?

Do CPUs Come with Thermal Paste


You might’ve wondered, do CPUs come with thermal paste? Thermal paste, known as thermal compound or grease, is crucial for optimal CPU performance. This article will guide you through the ins and outs of thermal paste, its importance, and whether or not CPUs come equipped with it. We’ll also tackle a bunch of FAQs related to the topic. So let’s dive in!

A Brief Overview of Thermal Paste

Thermal paste is a heat-conductive compound that fills the microscopic gaps between a CPU and its heatsink. This ensures that the heat generated by the CPU is efficiently transferred to the heatsink, which in turn keeps the CPU cool and functioning at its best. Without thermal paste, the CPU would likely overheat and suffer from performance issues or, even worse, permanent damage.

Do CPUs Come with Thermal Paste?

The answer to this burning question is it depends. Some CPUs come with thermal paste pre-applied, while others don’t. Generally, CPUs with a stock cooler have thermal paste pre-applied to the cooler. On the other hand, aftermarket coolers often come with a separate tube of thermal paste that you’ll need to apply yourself.

Factors to Consider

When shopping for a CPU, it’s crucial to consider whether or not it includes thermal paste. Here are a few factors to keep in mind:

  • Stock vs. aftermarket coolers: CPUs with stock coolers often have thermal paste pre-applied. In contrast, aftermarket coolers usually require you to apply the paste yourself.
  • Manufacturer: Different CPU manufacturers may have varying practices regarding including thermal paste with their products.
  • CPU Model: Some high-end CPUs might not include thermal paste or a cooler, as they assume users will opt for high-performance aftermarket solutions.

The Application Process: Tips and Tricks

If your CPU doesn’t come with thermal paste, you’ll need to apply it yourself. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Clean the surfaces: Ensure that both the CPU and heatsink surfaces are clean and free of dust or debris.
  2. Apply the paste: Place a small, pea-sized amount of thermal paste on the center of the CPU.
  3. Spread the paste: Gently press the heatsink onto the CPU, allowing the paste to spread evenly across the surface.
  4. Secure the heatsink: Attach the heatsink to the CPU according to the manufacturer’s instructions.


So, do CPUs come with thermal paste? The answer varies depending on the CPU model, manufacturer, and whether it includes a stock cooler. When purchasing a CPU, knowing if it comes with thermal paste and how to apply it correctly to ensure optimal performance and prevent overheating is essential.

We hope this article has shed some light on the role of thermal paste in CPU performance and answered some common questions. Remember to choose a reputable thermal paste brand and apply it correctly for the best results.

FAQs About Thermal Paste

How often should I replace the thermal paste on my CPU?

It’s a good rule of thumb to replace the thermal paste every 2-3 years. This ensures optimal heat transfer and overall performance.

Can I use too much thermal paste?

More thermal paste can be counterproductive, as it may insulate the CPU rather than transfer heat effectively. Stick to a pea-sized amount for best results.

Is there a difference between various thermal paste brands?

While there are differences in composition and thermal conductivity, most reputable brands will offer similar performance. Choose a reliable brand, and you should be good to go.

Can I use toothpaste or other household items as a thermal paste substitute?

It’s highly advised against using toothpaste or other household items as a thermal paste substitute. These items lack the necessary thermal conductivity and may damage your CPU.

How do I remove the old thermal paste from my CPU?

You can use isopropyl alcohol and a lint-free cloth to clean off your CPU’s old thermal paste gently. Make sure the CPU is completely dry before applying the new paste.

Do CPUs come with thermal paste if I buy them used?

When purchasing a used CPU, it’s unlikely that it will come with thermal paste pre-applied. In this case, you should acquire thermal paste separately and apply it yourself during installation.

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