AMD Epyc 7542 Review

High-end server processor released in 2019 with 32 cores and 64 threads. With base clock at 2.9GHz, max speed at 3.4GHz, and a 225W power rating. Epyc 7542 is based on the Rome 7nm family and part of the EPYC series.
Price 22.4%
Speed 71%
Productivity 121%
Gaming 87%
Category Server
Target high-end
Socket Compatibility P3
Integrated Graphics
Cooler Included
Overclock Potential 0 %
Year 2019 Model
Price 6000 USD
Number of Cores 32 Cores
Number of Threads 64 Threads
Core Frequency 2.9 GHz
Boost Frequency 3.4 GHz
Max Stable Overclock 3.4 GHz
Power Consumption 225 W
Manufacturing Process 7 nm
L3 Cache 128 MB
Maximum Supported Memory 4096 GB
Price-Value Score 22.4 %
Speed Score 71 %
Productivity Score 121 %
Gaming Score 87 %
Max 1080p Bottleneck 32.7 %
Max 1440p Bottleneck 16.3 %
Max 4K Bottleneck 8.2 %
Overall Score 48/100

The Epyc 7542 is one of AMD's high-end Server processors. It was released in 2019 with 32 cores and 64 threads. With base clock at 2.9GHz, max speed at 3.4GHz, and a 225W power rating. The Epyc 7542 is based on the Rome 7nm family and is part of the EPYC series.

The AMD Epyc 7542 marks yet another blast from Team AMD, ramping up the intensity of the AMD vs Intel processor war. Still, though, there’s more than just core counts when it comes to a mainstream processor, as single-core performance needs to be on point, especially if you’re hoping to play the best PC games.

Now, we're asking ourselves whether or not the AMD Epyc 7542 finally dethrones the Xeon Gold 6230R as the de facto ruler of the mainstream processors. Ultimately, it depends: the Epyc 7542 doesn't reach the same single-core performance as Intel, but we're starting to see more games adopt multi-threaded CPUs, so that doesn't matter as much.

The AMD Epyc 7542 is an absolute behemoth of a processor, as it absolutely should be with its 32 cores, 64 threads and high price tag. If you’re looking for the absolute best processor money can buy on a mainstream processor, then look no further. Whether you’re playing PC games or even doing hardcore video and 3D work, the AMD Epyc 7542 can handle them with ease.

However, you should be aware that there are some workloads where the Xeon Gold 6230R will still perform a little better. Old games that are completely single threaded, like World of Warcraft, will still run better on an Intel processor – but that gap is definitely starting to narrow.

Over the last couple years, AMD has been reaching for dominance in the desktop CPU world, and with the AMD Epyc 7542, it's finally there.

AMD's Zen 2 series has landed, upping the ante with Intel in its high-stakes game for desktop PC market dominance with a well-rounded lineup of new chips that push mainstream platforms to higher core counts and more raw compute than we've ever seen. As a result, Intel's commanding presence in the enthusiast space is threatened in a way we haven't seen in over a decade.

That something is the Epyc 7542. AMD cranks the TDP dial up to 225W on this 32-core 64-thread chip, making it the high-performance counterpart to the 200W Epyc 7532, which is basically the same 7nm chip built with the Zen 2 microarchitecture, but with a lower TDP rating. That chip came away from our first look at the Zen 2 series with an Editor's Choice award, going toe-to-toe with Intel's Xeon Gold 6230R, so it's fair to say we have high hopes for the higher-performance model. AMD still hasn't sampled the chip to the press, so we bought one at retail to put it under the microscope.

The Epyc 7542 slots in beneath the Epyc 7551, which comes with 14nm compute die to yield a 32-core 64-thread part. AMD has worked wonders to reduce the impact of this sort of multi-chip arrangement, but it's fair to assume that the Epyc 7542s single-compute-die design, paired with a higher TDP rating that facilitates more aggressive boost clocks, could actually rival the Epyc 7551 in some applications – games included.

We covered the deep dive details of the Zen 2 chip design in our AMD Epyc 7551 and Epyc 7532 review, so head there for more information on the Epyc 7542's architecture, which is identical to the Epyc 7532.

As the higher-priced version of the Epyc 7532, the Epyc 7542 has higher base and Boost frequencies of 2.9 and 3.4 GHz, respectively. That's an increase in base frequency and a bump to boost clocks, but the real advantage should lay in the higher Package Power Tracking (PPT) envelope, which is a measurement of the maximum amount of power delivered to the socket. The Epyc 7532's PPT tops out at 200W, while the motherboard can pump up to 142W to the Epyc 7542 at peak performance. That opens up much more aggressive boost behavior, on both single and multiple cores, that could widen the performance gap beyond what we see on the spec sheet.

As we've seen, gaming remains an advantage for Intel, so if squeezing out every last frame is all you care about, Intel's processors are a good choice. Much of that performance advantage will be less noticeable when gaming at higher resolutions, or if you pair the processors with a lesser graphics card.

Value seekers who aren't afraid to press the Precision Boost Overdrive button and have sufficient cooling should look to the Epyc 7532 for roughly equivalent performance to the Epyc 7542, particularly if gaming factors heavily into the buying decision. That could save you money, reinforcing our decision to give the Epyc 7532 an Editor's Choice award.

The AMD Epyc 7542, like the rest of AMD's Rome processors, is built on a 7nm manufacturing node – the smallest in a commercially available CPU. What this means for most people is lower power consumption and much improved performance at the same time.

What this all means is that the AMD Epyc 7542 is an absolute beast when it comes to multi-threaded workloads, especially at this price point. If you're counting on doing some video editing or compiling one hell of an Excel spreadsheet, you're going to see firsthand a performance boost with the Epyc 7542.

If you're mostly playing games on your PC, you will be happy buying either processor. Both proved to be solid options and are evenly matched with a slight advantage to the Intel chip if you don't tune up the Xeon Gold processor. The base performance we showed for the Epyc 7542 can be achieved with $90 memory, while the Xeon Gold 6230R will require $110 - $120 memory in order to enable the frame rates shown here. It’s not a big cost difference and right now with anything less than an RTX 2070 or Vega 64 you’ll more than likely become GPU limited.

Like its bigger EPYC brother, these high-end processors are all about packing more cores and hyperthreading. The Epyc 7542 sits at the top of the EPYC family, featuring 32-cores and 64-threads with a base clock speed of 2.9GHz that punches up to a maximum of 3.4GHz. It’s an impressive processor that not only beats Intel’s Xeon Gold and Xeon Gold processors, but also manages to turn its nose up at the 32-cores series.

That said, AMD still lags behind in frequency when the Xeon Gold 6234 operates at 3.3GHz at any given moment and 4GHz when push comes to shove.

If extended overclocking and boost frequencies are trivial matters to you, AMD also offers the Epyc 7532 at $3600. It’s still outfitted with 32-cores and 64-threads, but clocks in at a slower 2.4GHz and maxes out at only 3.3GHz.

With EPYC, AMD continues to innovate on its new architecture and 7nm process. Like EPYC, AMD has engineered EPYC to operate on a P3 chipset with all the modern amenities of computing. This includes support for DDR4 RAM, the fastest NVMe SSDs and Thunderbolt 3 ports.

Now the biggest question is can AMD’s EPYC processor play games? The answer is simply yes as it got a respectable gaming score of 87% in our benchmarks.

Regardless of those external factors, the Epyc 7542 proves it has the chops to be your main gaming system and a just as effective media creation platform – two things that are becoming intrinsically connected in this age of live-streaming, eSports and uploading gameplay videos.

The Epyc 7542 clocks up to 3.4Ghz just as it promises on the box, and with AMD’s software you can take one of the cores all the way up to 3.5GHz. However, don’t expect to get much beyond that without seriously upgrading your cooling solution and manually tweaking voltages behind the operating system level.

Which GPU to Pick for AMD Epyc 7542

Below is a comparison of all graphics cards average FPS performance (using an average of 80+ games at ultra quality settings), combined with the AMD Epyc 7542.

GPU Price Cost/Frame Avg 1080p Avg 1440p Avg 4K
NVIDIA TITAN RTX 24GB $2,499 $19.7 127 FPS
120.3 FPS
79.3 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 11GB $1,299 $10.5 123.6 FPS
117.2 FPS
77.1 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER 8GB $699 $6.2 112.2 FPS
105.3 FPS
69 FPS
NVIDIA TITAN V 12GB $2,999 $27.9 107.5 FPS
101.9 FPS
68.4 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 8GB $699 $6.6 106 FPS
98.5 FPS
64 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB $759 $7.6 99.4 FPS
93.9 FPS
61.5 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER 8GB $499 $5.1 98.8 FPS
90.7 FPS
59.3 FPS
NVIDIA TITAN Xp 12GB $1,199 $12.3 97.4 FPS
90.7 FPS
60.7 FPS
AMD Radeon VII 16GB $699 $7.2 97.4 FPS
90 FPS
57.9 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT 8GB $399 $4.2 94.9 FPS
87.6 FPS
56.3 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 8GB $499 $5.3 93.6 FPS
84.7 FPS
56.1 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER 8GB $400 $4.5 88.6 FPS
78.9 FPS
51.3 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 5700 8GB $349 $4 87 FPS
80.4 FPS
51.6 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 8GB $499 $5.9 84.4 FPS
76.8 FPS
49.5 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 6GB $350 $4.2 83.4 FPS
72.5 FPS
46.3 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT 6GB $279 $3.4 82 FPS
75.1 FPS
48.1 FPS
AMD Radeon R9 295X2 4GB $1,499 $19 79.1 FPS
71 FPS
48.7 FPS
AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 8GB $499 $6.3 78.9 FPS
72.9 FPS
46.7 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti 8GB $409 $5.2 78.2 FPS
71.1 FPS
45.7 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN X 12GB $999 $13.1 76 FPS
68.4 FPS
44 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6GB $279 $3.8 74.4 FPS
67.7 FPS
43.5 FPS
AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 8GB $399 $5.4 74 FPS
68.2 FPS
43.8 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 8GB $399 $5.5 72 FPS
64.9 FPS
41.4 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 SUPER 6GB $229 $3.3 70.1 FPS
63.9 FPS
41.1 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti 6GB $649 $9.8 66.2 FPS
59.9 FPS
38.5 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 6GB $220 $3.3 66 FPS
60.1 FPS
38.6 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 590 8GB $279 $4.4 62.7 FPS
55.3 FPS
34.8 FPS
AMD Radeon R9 FURY X 4GB $649 $10.8 60.1 FPS
56.9 FPS
37.5 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 SUPER 4GB $160 $2.8 57.5 FPS
52.2 FPS
33.5 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB 8GB $199 $3.5 57 FPS
50.3 FPS
31.5 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 4GB $549 $9.7 56.8 FPS
50.8 FPS
32.8 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 580 8GB $229 $4.1 55.6 FPS
49 FPS
30.6 FPS
AMD Radeon R9 Nano 4GB $649 $11.9 54.7 FPS
50.9 FPS
33.4 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN BLACK 6GB $999 $18.8 53 FPS
47.1 FPS
31.7 FPS
AMD Radeon R9 FURY 4GB $549 $10.6 51.7 FPS
47.9 FPS
31 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB 6GB $254 $4.9 51.5 FPS
45.8 FPS
29.5 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT 4GB 4GB $169 $3.3 51.1 FPS
45.2 FPS
28.3 FPS
AMD Radeon R9 390X 8GB $429 $8.6 49.7 FPS
45.9 FPS
29.9 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB 3GB $170 $3.5 48.9 FPS
43.6 FPS
28 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 4GB $329 $6.8 48.1 FPS
42.4 FPS
28.4 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 480 8GB $400 $8.6 46.7 FPS
42.8 FPS
28.2 FPS
AMD Radeon R9 390 8GB $329 $7.1 46.4 FPS
41.9 FPS
25.7 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 570 4GB $169 $3.7 45.8 FPS
41.4 FPS
26 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 4GB $149 $3.4 43.8 FPS
39.5 FPS
25.3 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 470 4GB $179 $4.4 40.9 FPS
37.1 FPS
23.8 FPS
AMD Radeon R9 380X 4GB $229 $6.7 34.4 FPS
30.9 FPS
20.2 FPS
AMD Radeon R9 285 2GB $249 $8.1 30.9 FPS
27.8 FPS
17.1 FPS
AMD Radeon R9 380 2GB $199 $6.5 30.7 FPS
27.5 FPS
17.1 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB $169 $5.6 30.2 FPS
27.2 FPS
17.4 FPS
AMD Radeon R9 280 3GB $279 $9.3 29.9 FPS
27.2 FPS
16.4 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 2GB $199 $6.7 29.5 FPS
26.4 FPS
16.7 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 3GB $169 $6.6 25.7 FPS
23 FPS
14.5 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 560 4GB $99 $4.2 23.8 FPS
21 FPS
13.3 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950 2GB $159 $6.8 23.3 FPS
20.6 FPS
13.5 FPS
AMD Radeon R7 370 2GB $149 $6.5 22.9 FPS
19.3 FPS
12.7 FPS
AMD Radeon R7 265 2GB $149 $6.6 22.7 FPS
18.7 FPS
12.3 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 460 4GB $140 $6.7 21 FPS
18.6 FPS
11.8 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB $149 $7.3 20.3 FPS
16 FPS
10.6 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 550 2GB $79 $4.8 16.6 FPS
14.8 FPS
9.3 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GT 1030 2GB $79 $5 15.9 FPS
14 FPS
8.6 FPS
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