DirectStorage, a GPU-oriented file I/O API that should enable faster loading times and improved texture decompression speeds for PC gamers on Windows 11 (as well as Windows 10 version 1909 and up), will require an NVMe SSD with a storage capacity of 1 TB at minimum. This is according to updated specifications that Microsoft has published on its official Windows 11 page, which includes the requirements for various other new operating system features such as Auto HDR and DirectX 12 Ultimate. Microsoft previously listed 512 GB NVMe SSD drives as the minimum requirement for its DirectStorage feature.
DirectStorage requires 1 TB or greater NVMe SSD to store and run games that uses the “Standard NVM Express Controller” driver and a DirectX 12 Ultimate GPU.
DirectStorage is an API in the DirectX family that was originally designed for the Velocity Architecture leveraged by Microsoft’s next-gen Xbox Series X|S consoles. As explained in an article on the DirectX Developer Blog last year, the feature will enable faster game loading times and more expansive game worlds by addressing some of the limits in older APIs.
Existing APIs require the application to manage and handle each of these requests one at a time first by submitting the request, waiting for it to complete, and then handling its completion. The overhead of each request is not very large and wasn’t a choke point for older games running on slower hard drives, but multiplied tens of thousands of times per second, IO overhead can quickly become too expensive preventing games from being able to take advantage of the increased NVMe drive bandwidths.
On top of that, many of these assets are compressed. In order to be used by the CPU or GPU, they must first be decompressed. A game can pull as much data off the disk as it wants, but you still need an efficient way to decompress and get it to the GPU for rendering. By using DirectStorage, your games are able to leverage the best current and upcoming decompression technologies.
DirectStorage will be available as part of Windows 11, which officially launches this Tuesday, October 5. The feature was originally meant to be exclusive to Windows 11, but Microsoft later changed its mind and confirmed that it would be available to updated versions of Windows 10.