Microsoft’s DirectStorage 1.1 is out this week and should dramatically reduce game load times. DirectStorage was released earlier this year to minimize CPU overhead, but didn’t include the feature that was supposed to help run games on modern PCs. However, the company added the long-awaited feature with the latest DirectStorage 1.1.
What is GPU decompression and how does it work?
In a blog post dated October 13, 2022, Microsoft mentioned that it is in the final stages of development and will release the developer unpack by the end of 2022. Additionally, the company claims that this is one of its most requested features. . But what is GPU decompression, after all?
Computer games require large amounts of data to create immersive and interactive worlds. Each video game’s landscape, object, and character has certain “assets” that describe its characteristics, such as shape, lighting, and color.
Combined, all assets add up to hundreds of gigabytes of data, which is compressed to reduce the overall size of a game. When players launch a game, these data-containing resources are transferred to system memory, where the processor decompresses and copies data to the GPU, CPU decompression. This decompression and data transfer results in long loading times.
While DirectStorage 1.0 improved the data transfer aspect of the process, DirectStorage 1.1 moved asset decompression directly to the GPU, eliminating the step where the CPU processes the data and then copies it to the GPU. This method of moving asset decompression to the GPU is called GPU Decompression.
DirectStorage 1.1 will improve the Windows gaming experience
Usually graphics cards are more efficient at performing repeated tasks and combined with the bandwidth of a high-speed NVMe drive, GPU decompression on DirectStorage 1.1 reduces the time it takes to load an asset into the game, which improves the overall gameplay. Microsoft has shown that scenes can be loaded nearly three times faster with GPU decompression than with CPU decompression.