Thermal Compound


Junior Member
May 31, 2004
Hi, folks.

Thanks to resources here on the AnandTech site and these forums (and, yes, Tom's Hardware, too), I've finally got up the nerve to try my hand at building my own system. I've already ordered everything, and FedEx tracking shows a delivery date of tomorrow by 4:30 PM. Yeehaw!

Now, every computer I've ever owned before was from either Radio Shack (TRS-80, anyone?), CompuAdd (out of business, I think), Gateway, or Dell, and while I've installed new components here and there, I've never built an entire system... and I've never touched a processor.

I'm a little apprehensive about how this is all going to go. My question now is... do I need to buy thermal compound... or will the (retail) CPU include everything I need to mount it and the heatsink/fan on the motherboard? Is this hard to do, anyway?

Also, if any of you are wondering what a complete hardware idiot comes up with, based entirely on information gleaned from two websites and their respective forums, here's my build (which I am NOT planning to overclock):

AMD Athlon 64 3200+
OCZ Enhanced Latency Series Platinum Edition 1GB(512MBx2) PC-3200
AOpen AK86-L
ATI Radeon 9800 Pro
WD 74GB Raptor
Thermaltake 480W Power Supply (W0014)
Cooler Master Wave Master case
(CD-RW/DVD cannibalized from old system)

So... think it'll work? (If I don't screw it up putting it together.)

(Oh, and here's how retarded I am: I'm mostly excited about the silver case. I got a Samsung 213T monitor a couple months ago and it has a silver bezel... I'm hoping the Wave Master matches.)


Apr 16, 2004
if you dont overclock it.. the thermal compound that comes with ur retail cpu hsf will be enough... if you are overclocking i would suggest another HSF instead.. i didnt notice much difference from using the thermal grease from my thermaltake silent boost.. than the artic silver ceramique i bought.. about a 1c difference


Diamond Member
Aug 8, 2001
The retail CPU will include a termal pad. However, I suggest that you buy some better thermal compound. It can reduce the temparature beyond that of a thermal pad significantly, and the cost is that of a few dollars. Thermal pads are crap; they never conduct heat very well. dennisjai215's heatsink actually came with some decent thermal paste because it is aftermarket. Retail heatsinks are a different story.