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Microsoft has launched model 1.2 of its DirectStorage SDK and has a shock addition that may assist pace up outdated exhausting drives. Whereas DirectStorage initially launched as a method to stream knowledge from the newest speedy NVMe stable state drives to your GPU with out a CPU slowing issues down, Microsoft has heard from builders that improved assist for legacy exhausting drives would additionally profit video games.

Components of DirectStorage have at all times labored on exhausting drives, however builders have had to make use of separate strategies for NVMe units and HDDs. That complicates the method of supporting an API that’s actually designed for high-speed SSDs that aren’t at all times utilized by PC avid gamers to retailer and play video games.

With DirectStorage 1.2, builders can now use the identical code on each SSDs and HDDs. Whereas DirectStorage has historically used an unbuffered mode to go knowledge from SSDs to the GPU as quick as potential, it now helps a buffered mode for legacy HDDs.

“The legacy exhausting drives require buffered IO in an effort to masks the lengthy search occasions,” says Microsoft’s DirectX workforce. Builders will now have the ability to allow this mode for video games put in strictly to slower HDDs to allow them to profit from OS file buffering options and pace will increase.

Microsoft can be bettering its GPU decompression of textures to make it extra speedy in DirectStorage 1.2. GPU decompression was initially launched in model 1.1 of DirectStorage late final yr and permits video games to dump the work wanted to decompress property to the graphics card as an alternative of the CPU.

All of those current modifications to DirectStorage are encouraging, however we’re nonetheless ready to see video games undertake them. To this point, solely Forspoken has added DirectStorage assist, and through our personal testing, we noticed Microsoft’s expertise enhance load occasions by round 30 % or extra. Nvidia, AMD, and Intel are all able to assist the newest GPU decompression strategies of DirectStorage, so hopefully we’ll see extra recreation builders assist the expertise now that it extra clearly advantages older exhausting drives.

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