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How Critical Is Replacing Thermal Interface Material?

My motherboard died (the RMA replacement will arrive on Wednesday), and I was looking at the AMD CPU installation sheet that came with my processor, and I noticed that it says:

"Note: If the heatsink is removed for any reason, all of the old phase-change thermal interface material must be removed. Then, new AMD-recommended phase-change thermal interface material must be installed on the heatsink."

I of course did remove the heatsink and processor from my dead motherboard, before RMA-ing it, and I don't have any thermal interface material on-hand, do any of you know if this is a critical step or is more a "if my CPU starts overheating, apply thermal interface material then" step?
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  1. Best answer
    Vital to remove all previous paste, clean well and replace with new.
    http://www.arcticsilver.com/methods.html
  2. Best answer selected by Hastibe.
  3. Off to RadioShack--thanks so much for your help! :)
  4. No worries [:bohleyk:1] Remember less is more. :pt1cable:
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