Microsoft officially launched the DirectStorage API in March 2021, allowing the PC’s NVMe SSD to bypass the CPU and memory and directly transfer data to the video memory. It can greatly reduce the loading time of the game, and solve the problem of some material loading errors, so as to achieve a seamless connection of the scene. Last year, Microsoft also updated the DirectStorage
API, introducing the “GPU decompression” function in version 1.1, allowing the GPU to directly obtain the relevant resources of the game material from the storage device, and then use the GPU instead of the CPU for decompression. This further reduces the data transfer and decompression time, thus improving the speed of game loading.
DirectStorage technology brings faster loading speed, but it has also disadvantages. Recently, PC Games Hardware conducted a new test, showing that DirectStorage 1.1 may cause the graphics card to lose some performance. The game it tested came from Square Enix’s Forspoken, the first game to support DirectStorage 1.1.
The test platform uses an Intel Core i9-12900K processor with NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 graphics card, and uses SATA SSD, PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD, and PCIe 3.0 M.2 SSD, but does not mention the specific model of SSD.
At 4K resolution, switching from SATA SSD to PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD, the average number of frames dropped from 83.2 to 74.4, reaching 10%. Although the ratio seems high, the actual impact on the frame rate is less than 10 frames. Since there is no difference between the 1% and 0.2% frame rate, it means that the game is running smoothly.
The reason for the drop in frame rate is likely to be that the data transmission speed of the SSD is faster, and the decompression task that the graphics card needs to undertake is heavier. Previous DirectStorage tests have shown that the efficiency of using GPU to perform decompression tasks is very high, but the effect of using SATA SSD is almost negligible, which is much worse than M.2 SSD.