Microsoft’s Xbox Series X trick could make PC games load up to three times faster

Windows 11 and Windows 10 gaming laptops will get a new performance improvement tool from Microsoft with support for DirectStorage 1.1 in an upcoming update and an SDK will open it up to developers.

DirectStorage debuted in the Xbox Series X|S as a method to improve game load times and of course Microsoft leveraged it for Windows as well with DirectStorage 1.0 first making its way to Windows 11 and then Windows 10 in March. The original method could reduce load times in games by up to 40% on laptops or desktops with a compatible NVMe drive, but DirectStorage 1.1 ups the ante with load times up to three times longer fast (via Windows Central).

DirectStorage 1.1 example showing 3x load time improvement

(Image credit: Microsoft)

From a DirectX developer blog (opens in a new tab) Microsoft showed off an optimized sample (pictured above) illustrating the potential gains of GPU decompression over CPU decompression, with load times dropping from 2.36 seconds to just 0.8 seconds under DirectStorage 1.1.

While DirectStorage 1.0 improved data transfer speed, which reduced CPU overhead, DirectStorage 1.1 focused on GPU decompression. In the past, this task was entirely on the CPU, but now it can be offloaded to the GPU and working in concert with a high-speed NVMe drive, this can result in near-instant load times.

So what’s the problem ? In addition to having a gaming laptop with an NVMe drive and a DirectX 12 compatible GPU with Shader Model 6.0 support to achieve this, developers also need to implement the feature in their games. This has proven a challenge with DirectStorage 1.0 so far, so we’ll have to see if this next leap is enough to bring developers on board.

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