Microsoft's DirectStorage API will decrease CPU overhead in games

DirectStorage isn't just about Storage Performance, it also boosts CPU performance

Microsoft's DirectStorage API will decrease CPU overhead in games

Expect CPU overhead to drop in games with DirectStorage support

Microsoft's DirectStorage API has the potential to be a gamechanger for PC gamers, unlocking the potential of NVMe storage while also paving the way to more efficient data decompression on the platform.

DirectStorage is designed to allow gaming PCs and Xbox Series X/S consoles to more efficiently use NVMe SSD storage. That said, DirectStorage can help to increase the performance of older storage mediums, including HDDs and SATA SSDs. Even so, users of NVMe storage solutions should see the largest performance benefits.

Both Windows 10 and Windows 11 support Microsoft's DirectStorage API, but Windows 11 is optimised to better utilise the new API thanks to its improved I/O stack. Moving forward, Microsoft wants gamers to move to Windows 11 to make the most of the company's DirectStorage API.

DirectStorage will free up CPU performance

One of the major benefits of DirectStorage is how it will lower the amount of work that CPUs need to undertake. Using an NVMe SSD with Windows 11, Microsoft expects DirectStorage to decrease CPU overhead by 20-40%. This will free up CPU performance for other tasks, potentially increasing the performance of DirectStorage titles.

With DirectStorage, Microsoft is effectively giving PC gamers a free CPU performance upgrade. Moving forward, Microsoft also wants to take things one step further by adding support for GPU-based decompression, which will free up even more CPU resources.

One of the first games that will make use of DirectStorage is Forspoken, which is due to release this October. The game is due to deliver PC gamers significant loading time decreases when moving from a SATA SSD to a newer NVMe SSD, with loading times as low as 1 second being promised.

With DirectStorage, PC games should run more efficiently, both because of its improved ability to utilise the latest storage solutions and its ability to decrease the CPU overhead of gaming workloads. 

You can join the discussion on Microsoft's Direct Storage API and its impact on CPU performance on the OC3D Forums.

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Most Recent Comments

31-03-2022, 01:48:07

Problem is you need Windows 11 Quote

31-03-2022, 14:11:58

This is at least a good enough reason to upgrade.Quote

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