Microsoft DirectStorage API For Windows 10 Will Support PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSD And DX12 GPUs
The Xbox Series X currently takes advantage of the DirectStorage application programming interface (API) which is currently exclusive to the console, but Microsoft promised to bring this over to PC last year. In a recent presentation with developers, the system requirements of DirectStorage API weren't specified, but it did clarify that most modern systems could take advantage of this feature.
Microsoft's DirectStorage API Allows For Much Better Storage Performance And Game Load Times
The DirectStorage API was designed to make the CPU more efficient by reducing the number of CPU cycles in one workload which can, in turn, be used in other workloads. This is achieved by reducing CPU load when dealing with NVMe requests by submitting large batches of I/O requests in parallel. This allows applications to finely tune when they receive I/O request completion notifications instead of receiving every I/O request.
The challenge with transferring the DirectStorage API over to Windows is that not every system is built the same. Each system uses different components with different capabilities. Developing DirectStorage for the Xbox Series X was simpler as every console is identical and the components were hand-picked by Microsoft. For DirectStorage on Windows, much more time spent designing and testing it will be required as there are many possible component combinations.
The full hardware requirements are unknown, but a developer who saw a current presentation from Microsoft shared some preliminary information on the hardware requirements. According to the developer's post on Reddit, the DirectStorage API will be supported by graphics cards compatible with DirectX 12 as well as PCIe Gen 3.0 NVMe SSDs. He did not specify which NVMe protocols will be supported.
The DirectStorage API will certainly improve load times in supported titles. The full hardware specifications are still unknown as well as when this API will be used in games. The first titles to support DirectStorage will most likely be titles that already support it on the Xbox Series X.
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