Microsoft’s DirectStorage 1.1 arrives to spice up PC recreation load occasions with GPU decompression

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Microsoft is releasing DirectStorage 1.1 this week, and the largest new addition is GPU decompression for Home windows PC video games. GPU decompression is the following pure step in an industry-wide effort to enhance recreation load occasions on fashionable PCs. Microsoft initially launched DirectStorage earlier this year, 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, recreation belongings are usually compressed when they’re packaged up for distribution after which decompressed as soon as a recreation 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 completed 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 another methodology in DirectStorage 1.1 by transferring the decompression of these belongings to the GPU as a substitute — referred to as GPU decompression.”

Forspoken load occasions.
Screenshot by Sean Hollister / The Verge

We’ve seen the {industry} transfer to PCIe Gen3 or Gen4 NVMe storage units lately, providing 7GB/s of knowledge bandwidth. This quick storage is nice information for recreation builders wanting to hurry up load occasions, and the advances in I/O know-how can dramatically velocity up load occasions and video games utilizing DirectStorage 1.1.

Builders will now have to tweak their video games to utilize DirectStorage 1.1, and the enhancements might even see massive modifications inside video games the place you progress from one world to a different or teleport between completely different elements of a map or world. Microsoft claims this may be as a lot as thrice sooner, liberating up the CPU to deal with different recreation 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 vendors 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’s recreation assist. DirectStorage has all the time promised blazing-fast load occasions that we’re seeing on Xbox Sequence X consoles, however we haven’t seen many PC video games undertake this know-how but. Maybe GPU decompression will push recreation builders to actually reap the benefits of DirectStorage. Forspoken was purported to be the primary massive recreation with DirectStorage assist, however the title received delayed to January 2023.

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