games will occupy less gigabytes on the hard drive

The biggest existing handicap for SSD drives is their storage, it is their Achilles heel and this will be a problem in the years to come. Especially when it comes to games, since we find many of them who are already beginning to recommend the use of these units to install their games. We all know that what is recommended today is the minimum tomorrow. Well, thanks to DirectStorage it will be possible thanks to the data compression on the SSD, and all thanks to the graphics card. What does it consist of and what are the advantages of it?

Finally, and after much waiting, almost two years, Microsoft has decided to provide information on the on-the-fly data compression and decompression mechanism integrated in graphics cards compatible with DirectStorage. A section of DirectX 12 Ultimate that allows the GPU to access data from SSDs connected via PCI Express without relying on the CPU. But this also has another utility, it allows us to use our graphics hardware to copy data from the solid state drive to RAM and decompress it at high speed, while at the same time reducing the load on the processor.

The Advantages of Data Compression in Gaming SSD

This is not a novelty, sinceUsers of PS5 and both Xbox Series already enjoy the advantage. At the transfer speeds of an NVMe SSD, if we need to decompress the data as it is being transferred, we may find that not one, but several processor cores, have to be exclusively responsible for said task, thereby cutting performance. The trick? Add data compression and decompression units inside the graphics card.

Well, in the image above you can see the comparison when transmitting information from the SSD to the memory of the graphics card using DirectStorage and the integrated decoder in those that are compatible with DirectX 12 Ultimate. For stream 5.65GB of information, the process reduced from 2.36 seconds to 0.80 seconds and a CPU usage from 100% to 15%. So the process of decrypting the compressed data does not take any extra seconds. The main advantage of this? To have game installations taking up less space on the SSDbut above all to end the bottleneck of the lack of video memory.

There are many games that load all the visual assets of the game in the video RAM of the graphics card, which means that if we have a model with little memory, we end up having problems due to the continuous copy movements from the hard disk to the system RAM. and from this to the VRAM. The new paradigm allows us to copy data at high speed from the SSD to the graphics card when necessary.

It’s not just for games

Moreover, thanks to the DMA mechanism that every graphics card has to connect to the main RAM, we can use the GPU to decompress data from other applications. so all in the future they could be installed in compressed format. Which will mean that not only take up less space on the SSDbut because of its smaller size your transfer will be easier.

Audio editing with ProTools

In any case, the applications where this is going to have the most impact are video editing and graphic design applications with large files. Since it will only be necessary to have in RAM the part of the file that we are editing and not all of it at the same time. Which is a huge performance advantage and will prevent speed drops in those cases.

In any case, we must remember that DirectStorage is exclusively available for Windows 11 and there are still no applications that take advantage of it, but once they do, we will see a substantial difference in the way many applications perform. So data compression on the SSD is going to completely change the paradigm for many applications that we use on a daily basis and will definitively retire the use of the hard drive. However, such applications will need to adapt to use this new capability.

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