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Microsoft’s newest DirectStorage 1.2 works on HDDs to spice up PC recreation load occasions

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Microsoft has launched version 1.2 of its DirectStorage SDK and has a shock addition that may assist pace up {old} laborious drives. Whereas DirectStorage initially launched as a method to stream information from the newest speedy NVMe strong state drives to your GPU with out a CPU slowing issues down, Microsoft has heard from builders that improved help for legacy laborious drives would additionally profit video games.

Components of DirectStorage have all the time labored on laborious drives, however builders have had to make use of separate strategies for NVMe gadgets and HDDs. That complicates the method of supporting an API that’s actually designed for high-speed SSDs that aren’t all the time utilized by PC avid gamers to retailer and play video games.

With DirectStorage 1.2, builders can now use the identical code on each SSDs and HDDs. Whereas DirectStorage has historically used an unbuffered mode to go information from SSDs to the GPU as quick as doable, it now helps a buffered mode for legacy HDDs.

“The legacy laborious drives require buffered IO with a view to masks the lengthy search occasions,” says Microsoft’s DirectX team. Builders will now have the ability to allow this mode for video games put in strictly to slower HDDs to allow them to profit from OS file buffering options and pace will increase.

Microsoft can be bettering its GPU decompression of textures to make it extra speedy in DirectStorage 1.2. GPU decompression was initially introduced in model 1.1 of DirectStorage late final yr and permits video games to dump the work wanted to decompress property to the graphics card as an alternative of the CPU.

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All of those current adjustments to DirectStorage are encouraging, however we’re nonetheless ready to see video games undertake them. To this point, solely Forspoken has added DirectStorage support, and through our personal testing, we noticed Microsoft’s know-how enhance load occasions by round 30 % or extra. Nvidia, AMD, and Intel are all able to help the newest GPU decompression strategies of DirectStorage, so hopefully we’ll see extra recreation builders help the know-how now that it extra clearly advantages older laborious drives.

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