Basic Questions About CPU / HSF

Hello. From what I understand a CPU clips in to the motherboard and then a heat sink fan is clipped on top/together to the CPU with thermal paste applied in between?

When you buy a new CPU and/or aftermarket HSF do both come with thermal paste already applied? Or is it only applied on just the CPU or just the HSF? Because you only need to apply a dot of it to one when you do it yourself, right? When it comes pre-applied in a thin layer is that layer of thermal paste hardened? It won't drip off I'm guessing but how do they keep it protected when they sell it?

How do you know if an aftermarket HSF will fit/clip onto your CPU correctly? Is there a spot in the details on sites that tells you this?

For example I was thinking of upgrading my CPU/MB/RAM/GPU and reusing the case, fans, and power supply. I have this for my old HSF:

And for example I might consider getting a 3.4 GHz intel cpu such as:

Would that fit together? And since I'd buy the CPU but reuse the old HSF I would have to take apart the old CPU and HSF, clean them off and then what? If the new CPU had thermal paste already applied just stick them together? And if it didn't buy a good tube of thermal paste and apply a small dot and put it together myself? Thanks! I still am learning a lot.
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  1. The socket on the motherboard is a clip that holds the processor/cpu in place .

    The heatsink is either clipped or screwed down on to that using the brackets supplied with it

    Heatsinks always list the sockets they are compatible with . In your case the 4670K is a socket 1150 processor and your arctic cooling heatsink is compatible [ or at least current models are ]

    More modern heatsinks are much better performers than your old unit . Most people get great cooling using the CM Hyper 212 , or the Xigmatek Gaia 1283

    Intel and AMD pre-apply thermal paste . Many aftermarket coolers supply a small tube of paste . The trick is to use as little as possible . The best heat transfer would be metal to metal . but since neither the cpu heat shield or the contact area on the heatsink are perfectly smooth thermal paste is used to fill the gaps .
  2. Thanks! This info helped a lot. When you say Intel and AMD pre-apply thermal paste you mean to the CPU. So then I don't need to buy / apply thermal paste myself if I buy a cpu and aftermarket hsf? Because it's applied to the cpu and you only need to apply it once?

    Thanks for the suggestions for fans too. I looked it up and on:
    It says a newer version is available and redirects to:

    Including the XIGMATEK Gaia SD1283 ( ) which would you recommend / use? Thanks a bunch
  3. The paste is on the heatsink . Its just been painted on there by AMD and Intel

    If you buy an aftermarket cooler you usually have to apply it yourself .
    Performance wise there is very little difference between the Xigmatek and the CM . The Xigmatek has a reputation that it is quieter
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