This is my first time building a custom pc. So I want to be certain I'm doing things correctly.
I just got the AMD Phenom II X6 1045t in a box version with the fan. It looks like there is already some thermal paste on the fan cooling unit. Anyone know if that's what it is? Do I still need to apply thermal paste? Any help will be appreciated.
If there is a grey/white pasty looking substance on the surface that you set on the cpu, then yes it is already applied. Most stock fans already have it on there, so that would be fair to assume. You do not need to apply more, just attach as-is
RETAIL AMD cpus, come with cement already on them...its good stuff and fine to just clamp on...you ONLY need to change it IF you are going to overclock... which would need a better heatsink/fan anyway...
I honestly don't think it really matters that much at all what thermal compound you use. Yes, if you're a hardcore enthusiast who is pushing their system to the absolute limit and needs every degree celsius he can get, then maybe it matters. But even for moderate to heavy overclockers, CoolerMaster is as good as Arctic Silver 5 is as good as stock CPU paste (and yes thats what it is and no you don't need to run out and buy a tube of name brand stuff). Thermal compound is really only there to fill in the imperfections of the metal to bridge the gap. Installing thermal compound properly I would say has more of an impact on temperatures than brand.