Microsoft's new DirectStorage API isn't living up to its full potential just yet, but a future version could help supercharge data streaming and loading speeds on M.2 drives.
DirectStorage aims to revolutionize data throughput on consoles and PC. The basic gist of the tech is to help streamline how game data is decompressed and loaded from SSDs storage into hardware like graphics cards.
The API's end goal is to stream data from an SSD directly to a GPU's VRAM memory pool for decompression and allow GPU data to completely bypass the CPU. This would theoretically result in a significant IO performance boost that would lead to benefits like faster in-game loading times.
The DX12 API isn't there yet. According to Luminous Productions, the developers of the new game Forspoken, Microsoft's DirectStorage API still uses the CPU for decompression. "Because the current version of DirectStorage does not support GPU decompression, GPU data is decompressed on the CPU. This implementation, however, still outperforms existing Win32 APIs."
The finalized version of DirectStorage will enable GPU-level decompression and bypass the CPU.
The current version of DirectStorage still uses the CPU for decompression.
Despite still using the CPU for decompression, Luminous was able to reduce game loading times to the one-second mark in Forspoken. This could mean DirectStorage will unlock even greater loading times performance in the future when it unlocks GPU decompression.
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