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Do CPUs Come with Thermal Paste?

You probably already know that the finest gaming CPUs require a CPU cooler in order to operate at an optimal temperature if you’re seeking to purchase one of them. You probably already know that using thermal paste to help with heat transfer between the CPU and its cooler is a good idea.

However, the majority of CPUs these days don’t come with thermal paste, and most don’t even have a cooler, so having your own paste on hand is helpful. Additionally, aftermarket thermal paste can provide you with slightly higher temperatures than stock paste, even though the difference is not great.

Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut “yes” or “no” response to the question of whether CPUs come with thermal paste. Depending on the CPU, you might opt to use your own paste even if it does come with the CPU.

Do CPUs come with Thermal Paste?

No CPU comes with thermal paste applied, but the stock cooler that is included with the CPU might; therefore, if a CPU is included with a stock cooler, you shouldn’t need to use additional thermal paste. The pre-applied layer of thermal paste that most stock coolers have on their baseplates usually provides adequate heat transmission between the CPU and cooler.

Do Intel CPUs come with Thermal Paste?

The presence of a stock cooler determines whether an Intel CPU has thermal paste. The CPUs from Intel’s current “Alder Lake” CPU generation that gamers are most likely to purchase do not include a stock cooling, which also implies they do not include thermal paste. These CPUs, such as the Core i5-12600K, Core i7-12700K, and Core i9-12900K, are the ones that are “unlocked” and have a “K” in their SKU designation.

Although they don’t have a “K” designator, Intel’s more recent 65W CPUs do come with a factory “Laminar” cooling, and these coolers have thermal paste already applied to their baseplates. However, because these CPUs are “locked,” they cannot be overclocked or modified in the BIOS.

The most recent stock CPU coolers from Intel aren’t bad, but they’re also not particularly good. You should get considerably better CPU temperatures when under load with any respectable aftermarket cooler.

Do AMD CPUs come with Thermal Paste?

The presence of a stock cooler determines whether an AMD CPU has thermal paste, just like with Intel. Only two of AMD’s most recent “Zen 3” CPUs, the Ryzen 5 5600X and 5600G, are packaged with a stock cooler, in contrast to Intel’s whole 65W family (the latter is a slower CPU but it has integrated graphics).

These include AMD’s Wraith Stealth cooler, which has baseplate thermal paste already applied. However, just like Intel, any respectable aftermarket cooler ought to do a better job of keeping your CPU cool than the factory cooler.

What is Thermal Paste?

The way a CPU cooler works is by making it simple for heat to go from the CPU into its cooling system, which frequently consists of a heatsink with numerous fins to spread the heat across a large surface area and a fan to circulate air over these fins. Easy heat transfer between the CPU and cooling system is necessary for efficient CPU cooling. The integrated heat spreader (IHS) on the CPU lid is how heat is transferred from the CPU to the CPU cooler baseplate.

However, since neither the CPU lid nor the cooler baseplate are absolutely smooth, thermal paste is used to close any minute air gaps between the two surfaces, improving heat conductivity.