February 29, 2024

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Microsoft’s DirectStorage 1.1 will soon increase PC game load times with GPU decompression

Microsoft's DirectStorage 1.1 will soon increase PC game load times with GPU decompression

Microsoft is introducing GPU decompression to Windows PC games soon. Following the launch of DirectStorage earlier this year, GPU decompression promises to be the next step in an ongoing effort to improve game load times on PCs. Microsoft says It’s “one of the most highly requested features” from game developers.

GPU decompression works by offloading the work required to decompress assets in games to the graphics card instead of the CPU. Modern games include massive amounts of assets such as characters, landscapes, and items that are all compressed to reduce the overall size of the game.

“CPU decompression is usually done because compression formats have historically been optimized for CPUs only,” Casey Huff explains, Senior Program Manager at Microsoft. “We provide an alternative method in DirectStorage 1.1 by moving the decompressing of those assets to the GPU instead – known as GPU decompression.”

GPU decompression frees up the CPU for other gaming tasks

By shifting this workload to the GPU, load times can be significantly reduced in games, even in areas where you move from one world to another. Microsoft claims this can be up to three times faster, freeing up the CPU to handle other gaming processes. at DirectStorage 1.1 [is] Released, it begins a new journey for game developers to take full advantage of gaming hardware and accelerate load times for PC games over the next few years,” says Hof.

These new improvements are coming soon to developers, and will be available in both Windows 10 and Windows 11. Microsoft says there are “additional package IO improvements available for Windows 11 users,” so this would be the best option for decompressing GPUs and DirectStorage in general.

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GPU makers such as Nvidia and AMD will also need to release DirectStorage 1.1 compatible drivers before Microsoft’s latest release later this year. While DirectStorage heralds very fast load times as we see them on Xbox Series X consoles, we haven’t seen many PC games adopt this technology yet. foresbook It was supposed to be the first big game to support DirectStorage, but the title was delayed until January 2023.