Re: AMD Athlon 3000+ Retail didn't come with thermal paste?
No, the thermal pad will not lose quality at all. Make sure you get the CPU on the motherboard first. Then take the paper off of the thermal pad and mount it on the CPU, then securing the retentioners or whatever you call them in place. YOu can get a jump start on that if you wish. I did that too. No loss in quality.
*Fact: Microsoft Window's Blue Screen of Death vs Computerforums.org's White Screen of Death. Which is worse?