Best Video Card for Max Payne 3

If you want the full Max Payne 3 experience, you’ll need to play the game on PC and enjoy the eye candy. But if you haven’t updated your gaming rig in a few years, you may not have the equipment to get the most out of what the game has to offer, and unless you’ve settled for the lower-res console version, you may be wondering what graphics card you need.

A solid CPU and sufficient RAM are integral parts of a gaming rig, and even a top-of-the-line graphics card can have its performance bottle-necked if you skimp out on those components, but for our purposes here, we’re considering the gamer who is only looking to upgrade his GPU.

Max Payne 3 is built on the RAGE engine — don’t worry, that has nothing to do with the 2011 game by the same title. Initially released in 2006, the Rockstar Advanced Game Engine has since been updated, with its current incarnation in Max Payne 3 supporting DirectX 11 and stereoscopic 3D rendering on the PC. So what’s the best graphics card to run this game?

First, let’s set some ground rules. The objective is to find the best video card for Max Payne 3, not video cards, so we won’t be looking into dual-card CrossFire or SLI options. Second, based on the game’s specifications, we want a DirectX 11 compliant card in order to be able to take advantage of tessellation and the additional advanced graphics options May Payne 3′s PC version offers.

Max Payne 3 PC System Specifications

NVIDIA 8600 GT 512MB VRAM – NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 2GB VRAM / Radeon HD 3400 512MB VRAM – Radeon HD 7970 3GB VRAM

Less than $100

If you’re upgrading, you really don’t want to go lower than the Radeon HD 6670 DDR3 for $70 or the GeForce GT 440 DDR5 for $83. The cards are of roughly comparable performance quality, with the GeForce having faster memory and the Radeon claiming the more powerful processor, and both handily beating out Max Payne 3′s minimum requirements. Our recommendation in this price bracket is thus the less expensive HD 6670.

$100 to $149

For $130, the Radeon HD 6790 outperforms its equally-priced rival, the GTX 550 Ti. Even GeForce fans would be remiss if they picked the 550 over the 6790.


Coming in right at the lower-end of this price range, the $150 Radeon HD 6850 provides the best bang for your buck out of every card on this list. If we had to recommend only one card, the HD 6850 is just the right mix of affordability and performance.


The $300 GeForce GTX 480 is just the kind of high-end card that will have you comfortably max out most of your favorite games before hitting the more insane price points. For $250, the GTX 560 Ti doesn’t quite match the 480′s power, but its price is an easier pill to swallow.

UPDATE: The GTX 570 has found itself available for $300, making itself an excellent contender for this price range.

Over $400

While I love what I’ve heard about the GeForce GTX 680, it’s almost impossible to find one in stock. Enter the Radeon HD 7970, which has recently dipped in price from around $550 to $480, actually beating out the GTX 680′s $500 price tag.

Which to buy?

Which card you select will depend on what you value more. If you’re looking for power, no matter the cost, opt for the Radeon HD 7970 — unless you can somehow get a hold of a GeForce GTX 680. If you’re looking for the best performance for your dollar, the Radeon HD 6790 is for you. And if all you care about is getting the game to run after a minimal upgrade, then we recommend you go with nothing less powerful than the HD 6670.

Note: We have not run full benchmarks on these cards nor reviewed them separately in an official capacity. This article is intended as a consumer’s guide to help make a purchasing decision easier. Prices can change on a daily basis, and we recommend consumers do their research before making a purchase.

Prepare your painkillers, the Payne is back for a third session of shoot-dodging. Grab your pistols, join our text and video walkthrough and you might just survive.

Join the Conversation   

* required field

By submitting a comment here you grant GameFront a perpetual license to reproduce your words and name/web site in attribution. Inappropriate or irrelevant comments will be removed at an admin's discretion.

1 Comment on Best Video Card for Max Payne 3


On May 8, 2012 at 10:38 am

I can’t believe you didn’t put 7850 in 200-400USD.