Thermal Paste for Intel Processor

When I disassemble the heatsink fan from the motherboard and my old Pentium 4 processor, I saw some kind of layer at the bottom of the heatsink fan. Is this layer thermal pad or thermal paste? Looks like an aluminum foil It was black when I put the heatsink off. I wonder why?

One more thing, do I have to buy a new thermal paste or thermal pad to replace the old one? Or can I put the heatsink without the thermal layer?

Answer:
That layer is Intel’s thermal pad. From my experience, you can use contact cleaner to clean any kind of thermal paste on your heatsink and processor’s surface. If you have time, brush the bottom surface of your heatsink with sand paper (mirror finish).

After that, before you put your heatsink back to your processor on the motherboard, you have to put some thermal paste. If not, you will put your processor at risk of overheating or burned out. Most of thermal paste out there costs only US$6-15 dollars per tube.

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