Here’s Why You Should Be Excited For DirectStorage

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DirectStorage comes to PCs with a promise of reducing load times, and given the benchmarks, it is very exciting!

Story Highlight
  • Microsoft’s DirectStorage API shifts the rendering’s decompression works from CPU to GPU.
  • You need to have NVME SSD and Directx12 GPU to have the DirectStorage feature automatically enabled on your PC.
  • Forspoken is one of the early games that uses DirectStorage API. As a result, it has a loading time of under 1.5 seconds.
  • Developers are working on to make future games compatible with DirectStorage technology.

The PCIe 5.0 SSDs are out there to increase gaming performance, but have you ever wondered why it is not working out so well yet? I have an 8000Mb/s speed SSD installed, but I still sometimes feel the performance just isn’t there. But with the arrival of Microsoft’s DirectStorage API, is it set to change? Let’s see what all the hype is about.

Reality Of NVME SSDs

The NVME SSDs have been working so well on consoles. I am impressed by the total elimination of loading times in some console games. It is all because of the console’s architecture that is built to take advantage of the fast SSDs. So, if you just put even a 12,000 MB/s SSD in your PC, it might not make even a slight difference in loading time. It is all because PC applications have different architectures.

SABRENT Rocket 4 PLUS M.2 NVMe SSD
SABRENT Rocket 4 PLUS M.2 NVMe SSD – Image Credits: Tech4Gamers

DirectStorage Comes To PC

Previously, we had games that would request large chunks of data at once. As a result, the loading times in games like Forza Horizon 5 are high but now the games are modified to request data in small pieces that make them take better advantage of high-speed SSDs. However, this is still not it, there is still a lot of potential in modern PC hardware that needs to be utilized.

Coping up with development, Microsoft’s DirectStorage API is already set to take advantage of modern NVME SSDs and Directx 12 GPUs in an attempt to reduce loading times and increase gaming performance.

CPU Feels Relieved

One of the major changes that this Microsoft API brought is the way data flows when loading applications. Usually, whenever you run a game, the data required by the GPU for rendering is first decompressed by the CPU. But, with the DirectStorage enabled, that decompression work is done by GPU now. As a result, data can flow from NVME SSDs to GPU without having to be intercepted by the CPU, which already deals with a lot of stuff.

Making use of this improved data flow, developers can now have more complex textures and 3D renders in games without overloading the CPU. But a Directx 12 GPU is not enough, you will also need to have an NVME SSD to utilize DirectStorage API for the supported games.

Modified Data Flow Because Of DirectStorage (Image by Corsair)

Elimination Of Loading Times Or Another Waste Of Money?

As of now, there are still not a lot of applications that can take advantage of DirectStorage technology. But Microsoft showed us that games like Forespoken can be loaded in under 1.5 seconds with this API. Below, I have listed the loading times for Forspoken tested with different SSDs by a Youtuber:

DirectStorage Benchmarks (Image via YT: Techtesters)

Looking at these benchmarks, you can see that traditional SATA SSDs, unable to support DirectStorage, have significantly higher loading times for Forspoken. In contrast, I am amazed to see that the Gen4 NVME SSDs can load various levels of Forspoken in just under 1.5 seconds, thanks to the DirectStorage API. I think the effectiveness of DirectStorage is well-established by just looking at these benchmarks.

Reality Of DirectStorage Today

With a promising boost in gaming performance, the integration of DirectStorage in games is still a challenging task. To make use of this API, the developers have to change their way of developing games. This is why, even after some years of DirectStorage’s release on Windows, we still do not see a lot of games supporting Microsoft’s API. Some of the games that support DirectStorage today are Forspoken, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, Horizon Forbidden West, and Forza Motorsport.

What Can You Do To Use DirectStorage

The best part about using DirectStorage is that you do not have to do anything to use it. You just need to have a Directx 12 compatible GPU and an NVME SSD to have it enabled. It will automatically work on the games that support it. If you want to check then on Windows 10 and 11, you can simply press “Ctrl+G”>Gear Icon>Gaming Features. There, you will see a window similar to the one below that will tell you the status of DirectStorage on your PC.

DirectStorage Status (Image by Tech4Gamers)

DirectStorage’s Offer For Gamers

Since many of us already have NVME SSDs and Directx 12 GPUs, DirectStorage is going to be a kind of free upgrade. All we have to do is wait for developers to make more and more games compatible with this DirectStorage API. By using this API, we will have significantly lower loading times in many PC games, just like in various console games. Its effectiveness is not only limited to loading times, but the DirectStorage games can also have more complex graphics since the CPU will not be overloaded by decompression work anymore.

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