Microsoft’s DirectStorage 1.1 arrives to spice up PC sport load instances with GPU decompression

Microsoft is releasing DirectStorage 1.1 this week, and the most important new addition is GPU decompression for Home windows PC video games. GPU decompression is the subsequent pure step in an industry-wide effort to enhance sport load instances on fashionable PCs. Microsoft initially launched DirectStorage earlier this 12 months, however builders have been calling out for GPU decompression assist, and it now arrives with DirectStorage 1.1 this week.

GPU decompression works by offloading the work wanted to decompress belongings in video games to the graphics card as a substitute of the CPU. Proper now, sport belongings are usually compressed when they’re packaged up for distribution after which decompressed as soon as a sport is performed.

The issue is most compression strategies are designed for CPUs, which aren’t nice for contemporary video games that need to push for sooner decompression charges with the most recent PC {hardware}.

“Usually, decompression work is finished on the CPU as a result of compression codecs have traditionally been optimized for CPUs solely,” explains Cassie Hoef, a senior program supervisor at Microsoft. “We’re providing an alternate methodology in DirectStorage 1.1 by shifting the decompression of these belongings to the GPU as a substitute — generally known as GPU decompression.”

Forspoken load times.

Forspoken load instances.
Screenshot by Sean Hollister / The Verge

We’ve seen the {industry} transfer to PCIe Gen3 or Gen4 NVMe storage gadgets in recent times, providing 7GB/s of knowledge bandwidth. This quick storage is nice information for sport builders wanting to hurry up load instances, and the advances in I/O expertise can dramatically velocity up load instances and video games utilizing DirectStorage 1.1.

Builders will now must tweak their video games to utilize DirectStorage 1.1, and the enhancements may even see large adjustments inside video games the place you progress from one world to a different or teleport between totally different components of a map or world. Microsoft claims this may be as a lot as 3 times sooner, releasing up the CPU to deal with different sport processes.

Nvidia has applied its personal RTX IO within the present Recreation Prepared Driver (model 526.47) that takes benefit of DirectStorage 1.1. AMD is working with its software program distributors to finalize its drivers, and Intel’s newest Arc graphics driver (101.3793) consists of its personal optimizations for DirectStorage 1.1.

All we’d like now could be sport assist. DirectStorage has at all times promised blazing-fast load instances that we’re seeing on Xbox Collection X consoles, however we haven’t seen many PC video games undertake this expertise but. Maybe GPU decompression will push sport builders to actually make the most of DirectStorage. Forspoken was purported to be the primary large sport with DirectStorage assist, however the title received delayed to January 2023.

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