I have a 1.2gig @266 t-bird (retail) in the mail on its way to me. Should i get a better fan/heatsink than the one they are shipping me? I do plan on overclocking one day but not immediattely. is it okay to pull the fan/heat sink off the cpu and replace wtih one that is more suitable for overclocking? And would anyone trust the themal compound which is already applied to the heat sink in the retail package? should i just go buy some other themal compound myself and apply that. I am a first time cpu builder and not sure any help would be great.
packaged fans are typically not good for overclocking. I've heard good things about the GlobalWin FOP-50. I personally own a Swiftech MC360-0A. I didn't want to bust out with $70+ for the MC462. I'm quite pleased with mine.
They probably put a pretty good heat sink and fan with a retail box on a 1.2 gig Athlon... just use it. You can always change it later if you want to go faster! (I don't believe these HSF combos are pre mounted to the CPU... AMD used to do that on some of their retail stuff, donno about these 1.2 gig monsters! If it's pre-stuck on the CPU, I'd think twice about prying it off!)
However, assuming the HSF is separate, I WOULD recommend using heat paste. That preinstalled pad is no good. Scrape it off and buy a tube of heat-sink paste at Radio Shack. Don't overdo it, I put a thin thin spread on both the heatsink and on top of the CPU then set it together, pull it apart and check for good contact before you clamp it down.
A pre-installed CPU/HSF would require a mobo for socket chip, would it not? What does the HSF clip to? If you use the stock HSF and upgrade later, you will be installing HSF twice, and removing one once. This increases your chances of cracking the core. But, by the time you decide to overclock, if you ever do, HSF options may have changed. Or you may contemplate alternative cooling options. Advantages for both arguments.
<i>I suggest you read the </i><font color=red><b>FAQ</b></font color=red>
I just use thermal paste. No need for adhesive when your clip will hold it on very tightly! I believe the adhesive is for when you want to mount a heat sink on something like a video chip without a clip.
Not sure I understand your "mobo for socket" comment. But you're right, every time you remove and reinstall a HSF, you take a chance of breaking these flip chips, so being careful goes without saying. I've remounted HSF's several times on one chip without incident, but I am very careful not to rock it.