DirectStorage for Windows promises to bring the fast loading speeds of Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 to PC games, and the first titles to implement the technology will appear on January 24, 2023. Can your PC handle it?
Forspoken is the first DirectStorage game on PC.
Forspoken is a game that launches on PlayStation 5 and Windows PC. It’s an action role-playing game with a focus on traversal, moving quickly and smoothly over long distances. This is perfect for PlayStation 5 as it involves a lot of streaming data. That’s because the PS5 features a custom SSD and hardware compression technology to achieve a maximum data read speed of around 9 GB per second.
Even with one of the latest PCIe SSDs in your computer, you can’t even come close to that number. So you need something new to get a comparable experience on your PC. That’s where DirectStorage comes in. Forspoken is his first PC game to implement this long-awaited feature that Xbox series players have been enjoying since the launch of these consoles.
Forspoken’s developers say DirectStorage 1.1 reduces in-game load times from 10 seconds to just 1 second, although your specific hardware may affect actual performance.
How does DirectStorage work?
DirectStorage is part of the modern DirectX API or Application Programming Interface. It is a set of standard software functions that handle communication between software and hardware. Game developers no longer need to develop games for specific graphics and sound cards. As long as your hardware and software are compatible with DirectX, everything should work.
DirectStorage handles loading files from fast SSDs. It speeds up reading data from these drives in several ways. For example, data files can be requested and loaded in parallel. But perhaps most importantly, hardware decompression is possible.
By leveraging the processing power of the GPU, DirectStorage can decompress data on the fly before loading it into your computer’s memory. This increases the drive’s effective read speed beyond its actual maximum speed. Imagine a file that has a compressed size of 100MB on disk. But when it loads that data it also decompresses it and it arrives in memory as a 200MB file. Although the drive only moved 100MB, he effectively moved twice as much data.
DirectStorage bypasses the CPU during the decompression phase, and GPUs with thousands of cores are much better at parallel processing, so the performance difference is an order of magnitude better.