Microsoft has announced that Windows games can now ship with DirectStorage. The tech giant announced the update through an official DirectX Developer Blog. The technology is said to boost the gaming performance of game loads on PCs running on Windows 11 and Windows 10. As per the blog, DirectStorage will allow developers to fully utilise the speed of the latest storage devices. For those who do not, Microsoft announced that DirectStorage would be coming to Windows back in September 2020. The company is making the Application Programming Interface (API) of the technology available to all its partners (including developers) to ship with their games. But to understand how DirectStorage will help Windows users, you need to know what it is.
What is Microsoft DirectStorage
Microsoft DirectStorage is a low-level storage API for games that was introduced with Xbox Series X in 2020. An API is a type of software interface that helps other pieces of softwares. In simple terms an API can be considered as a standard that programs follow to provide a specific desired output.
When it comes to DirectStorage, it is an API in the DirectX family that was originally designed for the Velocity Architecture to Windows PCs. DirectStorage boosts the Input/Output speed that results in faster loading speeds.
How Microsoft DirectStorage will help Windows games
Recent advancements in SSD and PCIe technologies, specifically NVMe technologies, allow gaming PCs to have storage solutions that deliver far more bandwidth than was ever possible with older hard drive technologies. Instead of tens of megabytes per second, latest drives can deliver multiple gigabytes per second.
With this game workloads have also evolved. As explained in Microsoft’s blog, instead of loading large chunks at a time with very few IO requests, latest games break assets like textures down into smaller pieces, only loading in the pieces that are needed for the current scene being rendered. Although this method is much more memory efficient, it generates too many IO requests as compared to the present method.
As to how this affects? The fact is that the current storage APIs are not optimised for this high number of IO requests. This is where the DirectStorage API comes into play. As mentioned earlier, the API boosts the IO speed resulting in lower boot time of games.