Thermal paste on a new cpu?

I am building my new system with a new AMD X2 4200+, which came with an AMD heatsink fan. I know that there needs to be either paste or rubber allowing for heat transfer between the cpu and the heatsink, but do I need to apply this on a new unit?

There seems to be some paste already applied to the heatsink. Is this enough, or should I replace it with something better? Unfortunately, I nicked the corner of the pre-applied paste with my fingernail too, (checking to see if it was rubber or paste) but most of the "damage" seems to be limited to an area that falls outside the radius of the cpu's face.

So should I go ahead and assemble it as is, or should I buy something else to apply as a thermal compound?
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More about thermal paste
  1. If you're going to be overclocking I would clean off the stock pad and add some AS5. If you're not, or you just want a small OC you can use the pad. If its just a little nick in the corner don't worry about the damage.

  2. You need thermal paste on a new CPU. The theory is simple: despite the smooth surfaces of the CPU and the heatsink, there will still be tiny gaps between these two parts. Since air is a horrible conductor of heat (about 600 times worse than water), you need to fill in these tiny gaps with a material to conduct heat to the heatsink. That's what thermal paste does.

    There should be paste at the bottom of your stock heatsink. However, may people believe that there are much better pastes (that conduct heat better) out there. Arctic Silver 5 or Cermique (the latter is misspelled, sorry) are some of the more popular choices.

    Now, you can use the stock heatsink with the stock paste. However, if you knicked it with your finger, you probally should not depending on the extent of contamination (finger oils on the surfaces are a no-no). If more than a tiny bit, you may want to remove the paste using pure rubbing alcohol and a microfiber cloth.
  3. I wont be overclocking, but since I did nick the paste with my finger, I will buy some AS 5 to replace the factory paste with. For now though, I will continue to set up my system, load the OS, etc without too much worry I guess. Thanks
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