direct storage, the fast Xbox technology that Microsoft released widely to developers this month, will do more than quickly load your games from an NVMe SSD. According to Cooper Partin, a senior software engineer at Microsoft, it will also free up its CPU.
In a video detailing how DirectStorage works, Partin said that the Windows version has been adapted to make better use of PC hardware compared to the Xbox version. The Windows 11 version (Windows 10 users will have a less-optimized version) uses your hardware, particularly your GPU and CPU, to process multiple small bits of information from your SSD at once, resulting in faster load times. It streamlines the process of taking compressed data from a game, decompressing it and rendering it on your GPU and making it all happen simultaneously. Game resources such as textures, environments and characters load much faster as a result, and the efficiency of the process takes less of your PC’s hardware.
“DirectStorage is designed for modern gaming systems,” said Partin. “It handles smaller reads very efficiently and you can group things together to do more work. When fully integrated into your title, DirectStorage, with an NVMe SSD in Windows 11, reduces CPU overhead in a game by 20-40 %. This is attributed to advances made to the file I/O stack in Windows 11 and improvements to that platform in general.”
It could only get better too. At the moment, the CPU is still a substantial part of the pipeline for the way DirectStorage needs to take assets and unpack them before they are fully loaded into the game. In a future update, your GPU will do all the compression tasks to relieve the CPU of its functions, freeing it up even more.
With many people capturing footage of their games or live streaming, this can be huge for PCs that don’t carry one of the best gaming cpu.
DirectStorage Blessings look great, but it will be a while before you can use them regularly. At the moment, we only know of one PC game that uses the technology. Forspoken, which launches in October, may be the first DirectStorage game you’ll be able to play. Open world action game load times will go from an average of 10 seconds with a SATA SSD to 1 second with DirectStorage on an NVMe SSD, according to a recent GDC conversation developer Luminous Productions gave. Now your PC won’t run out of breath trying to run it either. All the more reason to upgrade to a NMVe unit if not yet.