Microsoft developers have finally announced an update to the DirectStorage API that aims to introduce the long-awaited GPU decompression. This accelerates the loading times enormously since graphics chips can do this work better.
DirectStorage ensures that gaming data is loaded directly from the SSD into the memory of the graphics card, so there is no need to go through the normal main memory here. Nevertheless, the CPU continued to do the decompression, which means that the technology already brought acceleration, but the former bottleneck was still not eliminated.
That changes with version 1.1 of the DirectStorage API. With a new developer tool called “GDeflate”, Microsoft has already been able to show a performance improvement of up to 200 percent or three times the loading time – this fell from 2.36 seconds to just 0.8 seconds. Also, CPU utilization has been reduced from 100 percent to around 15 percent since the CPU cores are no longer needed for decompression.
The responsible Microsoft developers also added that there are “additional optimizations in the IO stack” for Windows 11 that will further improve performance, although DirectStorage should work on both Windows 11 and Windows 10. The two major GPU vendors AMD and Nvidia will soon be releasing drivers with DirectStorage support. Meanwhile, the newcomer also promises Intel DirectStorage drivers. The Arc graphics cards should particularly benefit from the new API as the current driver seems to suffer from CPU overhead issues.
For users, however, all of this is still of little relevance in practice, because even version 1.0 has so far only been a gray theory. Because the first gaming title that officially supports DirectStorage is “Forspoken”, whose release is now scheduled for the end of January 2023 was postponed.
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