First build, critical question


Jun 7, 2009
I just bought a the retail boxed version of the Intel Q8400. I thought the retail version came with thermal grease, but there wasn't any in the box. I'm trying to figure out if it is pre-applied to the bottom of the heatsink. Here is a picture:


Please help. I'm pretty sure its thermal grease but I want to be sure before I hook it up
Not a very good picture. However, it probably is thermal grease. Usually that should be plain copper, nice flat and shiny. I don't recommend poking it with your finger, as you'll get other shtuff in it (body oils). But if it looks like a little soft pad of stuff you're probably okay.

But yes, generally the heatsink that comes with the Retail boxed CPUs already have thermal grease applied.

However, most folks will tell you two things:

1) Factory/stock heat sinks suck as a general rule.

2) Thermal Grease pales in comparison to good aftermarket compound (Arctic Silver, etc).
Those three grey stripes are thermal material.

Do not remove them, just mount the cooler.

It is a pain, but the ONLY way to mount the cooler is to do it with the motherboard outside of the case.
1) The pushpins are hard to get down. If you try to do it with the mobo in the case, you will bend the motherboard and possibly cause other problems. Just put the mobo on a piece of cardboard.
2) You need to be able to look at the back of the motherboard to be certain that all 4 pins are through and locked.

First, look at the cooler, and play with the pins, until you understand how they work. Read the Intel instructions that came with your cpu. The trick is to push in a diagonal pair of pins at the same time.