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Can I run my PC without Thermal Paste?

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October 28, 2010 9:34:41 AM

So my brand new rig is going to arrive tomorrow but unfortunately I forgot to order thermal paste with it. I did go and order it the same night, but unfortunately it looks like it got delayed so it's not going to be here for a few more days. I was just wondering if I would be able to build my comp and run it for the few days without thermal paste?

I do have a Zalman CPU cooler coming along with my other parts, so I OBVIOUSLY wouldn't just be running my cpu uncooled. (Yes, I've seen the videos about what happens if you don't have a cooler :p )


If it helps my processor is an Amd Phenom II 965 BE.

More about : run thermal paste

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October 28, 2010 9:38:32 AM

No, you NEED thermal paste on there. Id order some. However some HSF come with thermal paste already on, or with a pack, but i doubt this one does. You need it or else theres a good chance you may permenantly damage the CPU, or just get horrible cooling numbers.

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October 28, 2010 9:43:23 AM

I actually just checked and judging by the reviews of my Zalman CPU cooler, it does come with thermal paste. If I just went ahead and used that now, could I simply scrape some of it off and put down my better paste once it gets here?
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October 28, 2010 10:02:09 AM

ares1214 said:
No, you NEED thermal paste on there. Id order some. However some HSF come with thermal paste already on, or with a pack, but i doubt this one does. You need it or else theres a good chance you may permenantly damage the CPU, or just get horrible cooling numbers.


False, its HIGHLY recommended to use Thermal Paste, but ive seen them run (personally) without thermal paste.

Amd Barton, Celeron, Intel P4, AMD Phenom II 955BE.

Ok they run Higher temps, but they still ran fine. But im not suggesting to run without Thermal Paste, actually suggesting the oposite, but it can be done.
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October 28, 2010 10:08:30 AM

You can run your CPU without therm but like reccy stated, its not suggested; but is possible. Heat readings will be about 30-40% higher, and you will experience a freeze if you try to run any game (due to overheat).

Regardless, the CPU should come with some therm already applied to the base of it... every CPU I've ever purchased has come with some. Maybe I'm just fortunate?
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October 28, 2010 10:22:47 AM

reccy said:
False, its HIGHLY recommended to use Thermal Paste, but ive seen them run (personally) without thermal paste.

Amd Barton, Celeron, Intel P4, AMD Phenom II 955BE.

Ok they run Higher temps, but they still ran fine. But im not suggesting to run without Thermal Paste, actually suggesting the oposite, but it can be done.


Fine, its possible, but just because a human can fall doesnt mean they can sustain flight. I doubt it would last very long, and possibly ruin the CPU or HSF.
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October 28, 2010 10:26:25 AM

Just be patient and wait for the thermal paste to arrive.

By all means put the system together on the desk just to check that all your components work, but I don't see the point in building the entire system only to strip it all down again when the paste arrives.
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October 28, 2010 10:35:32 AM

...or can I run my car without lubricant oil?... the answer is quite obvious...
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October 28, 2010 10:44:02 AM

Well i used to run my E8400 without one. My temps were still normal. No problem. But if you are overclocking then it is a must. Otherwise you may opt not to use it at the expense of the 10 deg higher temperature!
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October 28, 2010 11:25:18 AM

darkguset said:
...or can I run my car without lubricant oil?... the answer is quite obvious...


Vauxhall Astra GSI ran for 3 and a half hours on the rev limiter before it blew up without any oil.. Was fun to see the aftermath
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October 28, 2010 11:27:29 AM

Be patient and wait for the TIM. It's only a few more days, and think of the worry you will save yourself with just a little patience...
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October 28, 2010 11:34:01 AM

Actually, no you dont need thermal paste, its helps yes but aslong as the HSF is doing its job and makes sure the CPU doesnt over heat then its fine.

Thermal Paste provides a smoother/flatter base for the bottom of the HSF to sit flush on to provide that there is no air gaps, as air is an insulator dont forget ;) 

Plus the Thermal Paste doesn't conduct heat very well, but its better than the air gaps.
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October 28, 2010 12:09:28 PM

Wow, some people seem to have no idea what the thermal paste actually does...

My advice: Wait for the paste. You'll feel stupid if you rush, then need to wait for a replacement CPU to arrive...
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October 28, 2010 1:14:07 PM

gamerk316 said:
Wow, some people seem to have no idea what the thermal paste actually does...

My advice: Wait for the paste. You'll feel stupid if you rush, then need to wait for a replacement CPU to arrive...


Then explain what thermal paste does. Or you gonna google it wise one?
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October 28, 2010 4:59:24 PM

Zalman used to ship with thermal paste. Make sure you use it.
It is "possible" to work without, but I'll bet you'll end up paying for another CPU if you try do do anything for longer then a few secs/mins.
Let me reiterate this,
use a little thermal paste -always!

Besides, doesn't it void the intel warrenty if you don't use it?

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October 28, 2010 5:13:42 PM

Without thermal paste, there is a small gap of air between some parts of the CPU and the cooler since both surfaces aren't perfectly flat. This is especially true with any heatsink that has heat pipes that contact the CPU. The thermal paste is better than air at conducting heat. It helps to fill in the small air gaps because like reccy said, air is an insulator and prevents the transfer of heat from the CPU to the heatsink.

Bottom line, wait for the thermal paste. The last thing you will want to do is risk running your CPU hot and damaging it.
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October 28, 2010 5:52:13 PM

What's with all the doom and gloom? Thermal paste is only supposed to fill the microscopic gaps between heat spreader and heatsink. Metal-on-metal contact is the best and even without TIM there's enough contact for the heatsink to work, it just won't be at peak efficiency.

Yes, TIM is essential to optimum operation of the heatsink and as a result there's no point in rushing this, but to all of you who think the CPU will melt without any TIM really need to read up on what it does and how it works - too much TIM, after all, acts as an insulator because it reduces metal-on-metal contact.
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October 28, 2010 6:31:03 PM

I actually just checked and judging by the reviews of my Zalman CPU cooler, it does come with thermal paste. If I just went ahead and used that now, could I simply scrape some of it off and put down my better paste once it gets here?
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October 28, 2010 6:48:11 PM

You're gonna need some proper cleaner - Isopropyl alcohol (at least 75%, 90% is better) with a lint-free cloth is widely used, I use Arctic Silver's ArctiClean

http://www.arcticsilver.com/arcticlean.htm

because I got it cheap.

Don't use nail varnish remover though because it usually contains perfumes and other additives that can leave a residue on the heatsink and CPU heatspreader that will cause heat transfer problems.

Honestly man you're just better off waiting and using the stuff you have on order to save messing about - what did you order anyway?
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October 28, 2010 6:54:46 PM

akondray said:
I actually just checked and judging by the reviews of my Zalman CPU cooler, it does come with thermal paste. If I just went ahead and used that now, could I simply scrape some of it off and put down my better paste once it gets here?



Yes. You only really need to use special thermal paste if your tweaking your machine. For normal use, the stuff the Zalman comes with is fine. Job done.
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April 13, 2014 4:44:13 AM

I just ran my CPU without thermal paste. It runs at 54°
and they say 40° is the ideal idle temp.
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May 12, 2014 4:25:57 AM

Ive ran multiple cpus without paste and have had no issues. 90% of the time this occurred due to a faulty heatsink fan. I removed the entire heatsink fan and all then scraped of the residue then installed a spare with no paste and no pre applied paste was on the heatsink i had a spare tube but left it out of the install to test temps without paste before then applying it. The build was fairly old running a very early model amd quad core hence why i wasnt worried about burning it out as i had better parts on hand. The build ran fine for 9 months no cpu heat issues eventually the old hd3850 gpu it was running died so i scraped the pc and upgraded. But i think this proves paste is optional, id use TIM in any build that i wanted to last its life expectancy but if your careful and precise with the install its not absolutely required. By that i mean removing your mobo from your case and carefully attaching and screwing the heatsink down wile looking around at all 4 sides to make sure there are basically no gaps between the heatsink and cpu chip. I ran my old build to the highest level i could with no heat issues. If i could run bf3 and skyrim and farcry 3 on a pc with no paste for 9 months with light overclocking im sure a decent pc could run for atleast that amount of time without paste. I could be wrong but ive seen this with my own eyes and wouldnt hesitate to do it again if i need/want to
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May 12, 2014 5:43:42 AM

akondray said:
I actually just checked and judging by the reviews of my Zalman CPU cooler, it does come with thermal paste. If I just went ahead and used that now, could I simply scrape some of it off and put down my better paste once it gets here?


I got the same impression by looking at the photos and some product listings. Yes you can easily remove the thermal paste at a later time if you wish to apply a different compound at a later date. However, the difference between what is included and what can be purchased aftermarket is generally quite negligible. It would only be worth replacing if you are doing some serious overclocking.

Isopropyl alcohol is the easiest way to remove the existing compound down the road. Use Qtips to scrub it off of the surface of the package.

Alternatively, you can use electronic contact cleaner, but isopropyl alcohol is easier to find.
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