Image: Microsoft

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.

Per Microsoft:

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.

Source: Microsoft

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8 Comments

  1. Such BS!

    This is just MS micromanaging PC owners, again, due to MS is trying to aid hardware vendors’ poor sales in storage devices.

    The PS5 825GB (667.2GB avail), which stumps the XSX in performance, refutes MS BS, but I’m sure that MS loyalists will believe them, though.

  2. [QUOTE=”Stoly, post: 42060, member: 1474″]
    Seeing as how big games are coming today, it doesn’t sound unreasonable.
    [/QUOTE]
    Yeah, 1 TB is like 4-6 big titles. Not really much in the grand scheme of things.

  3. [QUOTE=”Stoly, post: 42060, member: 1474″]
    Seeing as how big games are coming today, it doesn’t sound unreasonable.
    [/QUOTE]
    I agree, however, I can also see [USER=1790]@GunShot[/USER]’s point — hard to argue a good reason to ~require~ 1TB, when the XBox Series S only comes with a 512G storage and seems to support it as well.

  4. I do know that the more chips are on an SSD the higher read and write speeds usually go (in the same drive series) so I can see the size requirement as part of having a fast enough drive.

  5. [QUOTE=”Denpepe, post: 42067, member: 284″]
    I do know that the more chips are on an SSD the higher read and write speeds usually go (in the same drive series) so I can see the size requirement as part of having a fast enough drive.
    [/QUOTE]
    Again, Xbox specs suggest that isn’t an issue. Xbox SSD raw speed isn’t anything fancy – can reach it on any decent PCIe3 NVMe device. Although they do mention a “custom decompression block” – so maybe that’s part of it… but I kinda think not, otherwise they could have very easily just said “PCI 4.0” or something and got around that.

    I think they just put 1TB in there because they can. Same reason they capped Win11 at Intel Gen 8 and Ryzen Gen 3 – because they can. And probably got a kickback to do so from someplace.

    From the Microsoft page:

    [QUOTE]
    [B]I/O Throughput.[/B]
    [/QUOTE]

    [QUOTE]
    2.4 GB/s (Raw), 4.8 GB/s (Compressed, with custom hardware decompression block)
    [/QUOTE]

  6. Does the new API just require the game be sitting on a 1tb+ NVME? Or does it also require free space or anything else?

  7. [QUOTE=”Elf_Boy, post: 42072, member: 438″]
    Does the new API just require the game be sitting on a 1tb+ NVME? Or does it also require free space or anything else?
    [/QUOTE]
    that’s a solid question I run my entire system off of a 1 tb nvme drive and it does fine.

    Can I use this direct storage API or enable it? Where can I check it… wait maybe I should look at the article, I’m sure it’s documented there.

    Nope… no dice.

    I’m already on windows 11. I guess I’ll just enjoy my enhanced loading times… right?

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