Microsoft DirectStorage 1.1
Earlier this year, Microsoft introduced DirectStorage 1.0 technology, the highly anticipated solution to speed up the process of loading the game assets quicker. It was an important milestone that opens a new chapter for PC gaming.
However, DirectStorage 1.0 does not have the most essential feature yet. This version only improved loading times for high-speed NVMe storage. The assets are still sent to the CPU for decompression, and only then are they sent to the GPU memory.
DirectStorage 1.1 cuts the CPU out of the loop by introducing GPU decompression. This should greatly improve decompression speeds, as GPUs are better optimized for parallel operations. Not to mention, it will be quicker to just move data from GPU memory to the GPU.
Microsoft provided a sample which shows GPU decompression on the left side and CPU decompression on the right side. Not only has the time been reduced from 2.36 seconds to 0.8 seconds, the CPU usage has also dropped from 100% max to just 15.08%.
Microsoft confirms that DirectStorage 1.1 will work with all graphics cards that support Shader Model 6.0, but the best experience should be expected from DirectX12 Ultimate GPUs. Furthermore, DS1.1 will work in Windows 10 and 11, but the newer system optimizations for I/O stack, so theoretically it should provide a better experience.
Microsoft only confirms that the SDK will be made available to game developers soon, but no date was provided. This means we will have to wait even longer for the first games to support this technology, unless Microsoft has already been working with select devs behind the scenes.