Microsoft: DirectStorage Developer Preview available

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Microsoft has published the development preview announced in September for the DirectStorage programming interface under Windows. The API for shorter loading times for games basically works with Windows 10. Further optimizations will only be available under Windows 11.

New API for shorter ones Loading times in games

DirectStorage hides a new programming interface for data input and output, which is referred to in English as the File I/O API. It is part of the so-called Velocity Architecture of the Xbox Series X game console, which was released in November 2020. The API enables games to make better use of the performance of faster mass storage devices and players to benefit from shorter loading times. The Xbox Series X brought an NVMe SSD with 2.4 GB/s for the first time in the series.

More on the topic:

  • Microsoft DirectStorage: File-I/O-API of the Xbox Series X comes to the PC

Developers receive preview version

Participants in the developer preview program should initially receive a preview kit under a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), which Microsoft has since started delivering. Games created with the DirectStorage SDK are compatible with Windows 10 with version 1909 or above, Microsoft assures, refuting its own statement in the Xbox blog that DirectStorage will only be available under Windows 11.

Compatible with Windows 10, full scope with Windows 11

However, under Windows 10 there will initially not be the full scope of the so-called storage stack optimizations, which should only enable the full potential of DirectStorage under Windows 11, which was also developed with the new API in mind. Nevertheless, games should already be able to benefit from “the new programming model and the GPU decompression technology” under Windows 10.

DirectStorage is not yet available in the Windows 11 preview (benchmarks) .

Decompression only for current graphics cards

Nvidia had as part of the presentation of the GeForce RTX 3090, 3080 and 3070 with Nvidia RTX IO its interface for the use of DirectStorage has already been presented. In addition, compressed data with high bandwidth should be transported directly from fast SSDs to the GPU and decompressed by it. The detour via the CPU and the CPU power otherwise required for decompression is no longer necessary.

As part of the announcement of the system requirements for Windows 11, Microsoft declared that graphics cards support DirectX 12 Ultimate need to benefit from DirectStorage. This means that only younger graphics cards such as the Radeon RX 6000 from AMD and the GeForce RTX 2000 and RTX 3000 from Nvidia are suitable.

More on the subject :

  • Windows 11: system requirements, new features and 1st trial version