Microsoft’s DirectStorage 1.1, a feature that uses the GPU to speed up load times, has been tested by comparisons between AMD, Intel and Nvidia graphics cards – with some very interesting results. In short, it looks like the feature is set to increase load times with NVMe SSDs.
as Tom devices (Opens in a new tab) Reports, Compusemble (Opens in a new tab) Developed a benchmark test on German tech site PC Games (Opens in a new tab) (PCGH) used to produce results for AMD’s RX 7900 XT against Intel’s Arc A770 and also Nvidia’s RTX 4080.
All GPUs tested in a PC using Intel Core i9-12900K (Alder Lake main CPU) under Windows 11.
First, a quick reminder on the tech to refresh your memory if needed: DirectStorage 1.1 comes with GPU decompression technology, so the GPU can handle the decompression (for compressed game assets), and do it much more quickly and efficiently than the CPU.
This results in faster loading times and faster asset loading while navigating large open world games, which means a smoother experience when cruising around these types of large environments.
During testing, PCGH found that Intel’s A770 GPU was actually the best performer in terms of achieving fast decompression of game assets, reaching 16.8GB/s compared to 15.3GB/s for the RTX 4080 and 14.6GB/s for the 7900 XT. From AMD (for PCIe 4.0 testing – although Intel was also ahead for PCI 3.0, albeit by a slightly narrower margin).
While this was a somewhat striking victory for the Intel Arc, it’s important to note that it didn’t translate into any real difference in load times between the GPUs, as they all guarantee blazing-fast speeds.
PCGH saw 5-second load times reduce to 0.5 seconds – basically the blink of an eye – in all cases for AMD, Intel and Nvidia graphics cards, so they were all quite up to scratch in terms of actual final results.
Analysis: Very impressive results – but where are the games?
This is an exciting first glimpse of the independent benchmarks indicating how fast DirectStorage PC gamers will be, no matter what flavor of (contemporary) GPU they’re using. Note that gamers need an NVMe SSD hard drive, and similarly, they should be running Windows 11 for best results.
While DirectStorage will work with Windows 10 PCs, there are a whole host of improvements to Windows 11 on the storage front that mean it will provide a further boost. So it’s easy to see why, given how much of an impact DirectStorage seems to make with this test, it will make a compelling case for PC gamers to upgrade to Windows 11.
Keep in mind that it may not be an argument that applies in the real world for some time to come, simply because there aren’t any games using DirectStorage yet (not on PC, anyway). The only game we know is coming and going with DS support is Forspoken, and it’s disappointing that this has been the victim of several delays now.
Forspoken was expected in May 2022, then pushed back to October 2022, before being pushed to January 24, 2023, which is just over a week away now. So, hopefully – barring any other last-minute delays – we can see DirectStorage up and running on PC very soon.
However, one PC game is just a drop in the ocean, and it’s not clear when other titles that use this fast SSD boost technology will actually arrive. That means it’ll be a while before PC gamers who stick with Windows 10 feel the real pull of upgrading to Windows 11, but judging from early testing so far, it looks like that drag will be significant when it does happen. game.