Claims That Forspoken Runs Faster on SATA SSDs Are Said to Be from Using Inaccurate Testing Methodology

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Image: Square Enix

Yesterday claims that Forspoken could run faster on a SATA SSD than an NVMe drive were disputed and said to be inaccurate. The claims came via testing done by PC Games Hardware which examined FPS metrics using a 12th Gen Intel Core i9-12900K, an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090, and then three different kinds of storage drives. Forspoken marks the first game to utilize Microsoft’s DirectStorage and so is receiving attention from the industry to monitor how it performs. The goal of DirectStorage is to enable faster compression/decompression times between the GPU and a storage device by taking advantage of the faster loading times that an NVMe can offer. DirectStorage can work on SATA drives but should perform better on an NVMe, especially if it is a newer PCIe Gen5 drive on the Gen5 platform. PC Games Hardware’s said they used PCIe Gen4, PCIe Gen3, and SATA SSDs in their testing but made claims that Forspoken could run faster on the latter. They did not specify what drives were used.

From PC Games Hardware (via VideoCardz):

“At 4K resolution, the RTX 4090 suffered up to 10% loss from 83.2 to 74.4 average FPS when switching from DirectStorage on SATA to PCIe Gen4 SSD. What is important to note though is that the slowest frames, the so-called 1% percentile FPS shows no major difference, so gameplay smoothness should remain similar.”

Image: PC Games Hardware

It didn’t take long for this to get the attention of other reviewers which led to a response from ComputerBase, who proved these claims were inaccurate by publishing their own results comparing a SATA drive to a PCIe Gen4 NVMe drive. It was not a like-for-like test though as they used an Intel 13900KS and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 Ti but for the sake of DirectStorage testing should have a similar performance.

In short, ComputerBase explained that data was collected incorrectly and thus led to a misinterpretation and wrong conclusion. Although performance with a PCIe Gen5 drive is expected to be much faster, the testing with a Gen4 and SATA drives shows virtually identical metrics. Last March, Microsoft showed that Forspoken could load in as quickly as 2 seconds using an NVMe drive via DirectStorage but at the time the game’s benchmark metrics were not included in that announcement.

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Peter Brosdahl
As a child of the 70’s I was part of the many who became enthralled by the video arcade invasion of the 1980’s. Saving money from various odd jobs I purchased my first computer from a friend of my dad, a used Atari 400, around 1982. Eventually it would end up being a lifelong passion of upgrading and modifying equipment that, of course, led into a career in IT support.

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