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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More about critical replacing thermal interface material
  1. Best answer
    Vital to remove all previous paste, clean well and replace with new.
  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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