I just installed my new retail AMD venice 3000+ and the instructions didn't tell me to put any termal paste on the heatsink. I noticed that the heatsink had a square of material on it. Do I still need to go out and buy some thermal paste?
I've ran my cpu for about 3 or so hours...if I do need thermal paste...did I just mess up my cpu?
As long as there wasn't a piece of plastic covering that square (or if there was, you removed it) you're fine. It's just a thicker version of the paste. It actually has qualities that allow it to soften when heated, like a high-heat wax.
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Just to be sure, look at the sides of the hsf. The plastic that wusy mentioned, extends a long way. If you can see a lump of heated plastic all around the bottom of the hsf, get some type of TIM, and pull the hsf. If it isn't obvious, it isn't there.