NVIDIA drivers showcase massive PCIe Gen5 SSD performance gains with DirectStorage 1.2

Although it's still not widely adopted in PC game releases, Microsoft's DirectStorage leverages NVMe storage to drastically improve loading times.

1 minute & 23 seconds read time

Back in April, Microsoft updated its DirectStorage API to version 1.2, bringing support to older drives and performance improvements to the technology that is all about leveraging GPU power to improve game load times on NVMe storage.

DirectStorage 1.2 benchmark results using the latest NVIDIA drivers and the Crucial T700 Gen5 SSD, image credit: Compusemble.

DirectStorage 1.2 benchmark results using the latest NVIDIA drivers and the Crucial T700 Gen5 SSD, image credit: Compusemble.

YouTube channel Compusemble, using the DirectStorage GPU Decompression benchmark and the latest Crucial T700 Gen5 SSD (which we hailed as the "world's best-performing retail SSD" in our full review), showcases the benefits of PCIe Gen5 over PCIe Gen4.

Using NVIDIA's 535.50 GeForce beta driver, we see some pretty impressive results thanks to the Crucial T700's Phison E26 controller and 2000 MT/s Micron 232L NAND. Compusemble notes that the latest official 535.98 driver release features the same GPU decompression optimizations we see here, so hopefully, we get to see the effects in games sooner rather than later.

The first benchmark shows a clear advantage for Gen5 storage, with 28.09 GB/s bandwidth compared to the Gen4 SSD's 22.26 GB/s - a 26% increase. DirectStorage 1.2 moves the copy to the compute queue after the GPU decompression, and the results are impressive for Gen5 because, in previous versions, both Gen4 and Gen5 SSDs performed roughly the same in this test.

Switching to the latest NVIDIA drivers, we see the performance difference increase in favor of Gen5 SSDs, with the bandwidth now sitting at 33.12 GB/s for the Crucial T700 compared to the Gen4 SSD's 22.80 GB/s. A 45% lead in bandwidth and a 31% reduction in loading times. Loading the scene in 0.20 seconds is instantaneous, so DirectStorage can't come soon enough to most new PC game releases.

Currently, only Square Enix's Forspoken supports the technology, so here's hoping Microsoft, NVIDIA, AMD, and others can get the tools to game developers for wider support in the coming months.

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Crucial T700 2TB Gen5 NVMe M.2 SSD - Up to 12,400 MB/s - DirectStorage Enabled

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Kosta might be a relatively new member of TweakTown, but he’s a veteran gaming journalist that cut his teeth on well-respected Aussie publications like PC PowerPlay and HYPER back when articles were printed on paper. A lifelong gamer since the 8-bit Nintendo era, it was the CD-ROM-powered 90s that cemented his love for all things games and technology. From point-and-click adventure games to RTS games with full-motion video cut-scenes and FPS titles referred to as Doom clones. Genres he still loves to this day. Kosta is also a musician, releasing dreamy electronic jams under the name Kbit.

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