i am going to build my system today and purchased a retail 1.4 ghz cpu for the 3 year warranty. I plan to use the hsf it came with but was wondering if i should use the artic silver i ordered or stick with the existing thermal pad.
I doubt you will notice any significant improvement with ASII. The manufacturers put the pad on there for a reason. Leave it on, if something should ever go wrong, you have that 3-year warranty to back it up.
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Those thermal pads are not worth squat. They are too thick, for one thing, which acts as an insulator ... and that can interfere with the heat dissipation.
The pad or thermal grease that usually comes from an OEM, or on a retail heatsink, is ShinEtsu G749, which is an aluminum oxide-based compound. I prefer Arctic Silver II, which is, of course, silver-based. There's a big difference in the thermal conductivity. The G749 is 2.9W/mK, while the Arctic Silver II is 8.4W/mK. This is why you'll see people who like to overclock using silver-based compounds.
You can clean the pad or thermal grease off with some alcohol or acetone, a razor blade, and a clean rag. Be sure the heatsink is very clean (as in no oils from your fingers] before the installation. It also wouldn't hurt for you to pick up some fine-grade sandpaper, like 1000-1500 grit that is used for automotive paint, and sand the bottom of the heatsink. The better the "fit" between the two surfaces, the less thermal grease you'll need.
Less is more.
The key to this is to place the sandpaper on a slightly damp, flat surface (instead of in your hand) and rub the heatsink over it, with smooth, even strokes. I have a piece of Plexiglass I use for this. Your hand can't sand smoothly enough to make the heatsink completely flat, and you don't need a concave area on the bottom ... that could be worse than when you started.
Be careful to get the heatsink centered directly over the center of the processor core when you install it. It's nice to have two people for the installation; one to hold the processor rock-steady, while the other person secures the clips.