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Do CPUs Come with Thermal Paste? Find Out Before You Buy!

When building a PC, it’s wise to plan your budget and try to save money where you can. One question you might have is about thermal paste. Do CPUs come with thermal paste, or do you need to add it to your shopping list?

In this article, we’re going to answer this exact question, along with some other important ones. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

Are CPUs Sold with Pre-Applied Thermal Paste?

CPUs themselves do not come with thermal paste applied directly to them. Instead, thermal paste is often found pre-applied on stock coolers that may be included with some CPUs. It’s important to note, however, that not all CPUs are sold with these stock coolers.

Higher-end models, in particular, often require the purchase of a separate cooler, and in such cases, you will also need to buy thermal paste separately. That’s because not all aftermarket coolers come with a pre-applied thermal paste.

Which Intel CPUs Come with a Stock Cooler

Different Intel CPUs

When it comes to Intel CPUs, those that end with the suffixes ‘K’, ‘KS’, and ‘KF’ do not come with a stock cooler. On the other hand, most other Intel CPUs do include a stock cooler.

Here are some examples of Intel CPUs that come with a stock cooler:

  • Intel® Core 12th Gen Desktop Boxed Processors: Models like the i7-12700, i7-12700F, i5-12600, i5-12500, i5-12400, i5-12400F, i3-12100, and i3-12100F include stock coolers.
  • Intel® Core 13th Gen Desktop Boxed Processors: In this generation, Intel CPUs such as the i7-13700, i7-13700F, i5-13500, i5-13400, i5-13400F, i3-13100, and i3-13100F with stock coolers.
  • Intel® Core Desktop Boxed Processors (14th Gen): CPUs like the i7-14700, i7-14700F, i5-14500, i5-14400, i5-14400F, i3-14100, and i3-14100F are equipped with stock coolers.

It’s important to note that this list is just an example, and there are other Intel CPU models that come with and without stock coolers. Before purchasing, please check the details of the CPU model to ensure whether a stock cooler is included or not.

You may also like: Are Stock Coolers Good?

Which AMD CPUs Come with a Stock Cooler

AMD Ryzen 7 3700X CPU

Many AMD CPUs also come bundled with stock coolers, just like Intel. However, as with any CPU purchase, it’s important to check the specifics of each model. Notable examples of AMD CPUs that come with a stock cooler include:

  • AMD Ryzen 3000 Series: Ryzen 5 3600, Ryzen 5 3600X, Ryzen 7 3700X, Ryzen 7 3800X, Ryzen 9 3900X.
  • AMD Ryzen 5000 Series: Ryzen 5 5600X, Ryzen 7 5700.
  • AMD Ryzen 7000 Series: Ryzen 9 7900, Ryzen 7 7700, Ryzen 7600.

This list is illustrative and not all-encompassing. For the most accurate information, particularly with new releases or special editions, always refer to the official AMD website or product specifications.

Should You Keep the Pre-Applied Thermal Paste?

Pre applied thermal paste on a stock cooler

The pre-applied thermal paste on any cooler, whether it is a stock cooler or an aftermarket cooler, serves as a convenient, budget-friendly option. However, it is not as good as aftermarket thermal paste, especially for those looking to optimize their cooling efficiency and CPU performance. 

Additionally, it’s important to note that over time, pre-applied thermal paste (mainly AMD’s pre-applied thermal paste) tends to dry out and glue the CPU to the stock cooler, making it difficult to detach both.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do new CPUs need thermal paste?

Whether new or old, every CPU requires thermal paste. Thermal paste is essential for creating good thermal contact between the CPU and the cooler, which helps to dissipate heat and prevent overheating.

How long does pre-applied thermal paste last?

The lifespan of pre-applied thermal paste is generally around 2-3 years.

Is the pre-applied thermal paste enough?

The pre-applied thermal paste is enough for most people. However, if you want to overclock your CPU or get the best performance out of it, we recommend going with a high-quality aftermarket thermal paste. 


We hope this guide has answered your questions about CPUs and the pre-applied thermal paste. If there’s anything more you’re curious about or if you have other questions, please feel free to drop a comment below.

Your queries are always welcome, and we’re here to help make your tech journey smoother and more informed.

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Hi, I’m Abdelkader, a gamer and the founder of Gamer Around. I’ve been into gaming for the past 20 years and I love to share my passion and experience with you. Throughout these years, I managed to build a decent amount of knowledge and experience in PC hardware, but I’m always learning and improving.

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