hey guys sorry about the delay in response, I thought I had email notifications turned on but I obviously did not.
To answer the questions, (thanks for being so responsive btw everyone)
My case is this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811144164
its fairly old but pretty good. I have a 120MM fan in the back blowing out and fans on the side and top blowing in. I de-dust it fairly frequently, although I havent de-dusted the actual heatsink like ever I don't think. But the temps have always been around that high since I got it.
I have the stock cooler, never reapplied or used arctic silver etc. I guess my real question was is there any harm in just letting it ride if it routinely hits 74c and spikes to 79c? Or will that kill it inside of a year or something ridiculous? I hate applying heatsinks