As long as our system is powerful enough, we can take advantage of Microsoft DirecStorage to speed up our games. Additionally, this technology delivers superior graphics performance and faster load times for current and next-gen games. Surely this sounds interesting to us and we are eager to know more about it and what we must take into account to be able to use it.
That is why today we are going to talk about DirectStorage. We are going to check what it is, how it works and what are the necessary requirements to be able to make the most of it and thus have a technology that will allow us to enjoy our favorite video games much more.
What is DirectStorage
Within the different technologies, there is one in particular such as DirectStorage. Is about built-in DirectX 12 that is found within the Xbox series consoles and that has also reached Windows 10 and Windows 11. This one is in charge of speed up SSD performance, using the enormous capacity and parallel processing power of today’s GPUs. At the time this technology is active, video game loading screens are practically non-existent.
In this way, as long as our system is powerful enough and we have compatible games, we can take advantage of this technology to speed them up to the maximum, offering superior graphics performance and faster loading times.
How does it work
This low-level storage API developed by Microsoft is activated while we are playing a game. To do this, it takes care of loading pixels, textures, audio, maps, and character models from a local drive. The game then fetches the data from the hard drive using the API, which in turn moves the game data from the hard drive to the system’s RAM, and from there to the GPU for rendering.
In this way, the graph can almost direct access to game files, saved on the SSD, render game images much faster and load content. And this translates into faster load times and fewer graphical artifacts for games.
Additionally, DirectStorage is able to take advantage of the increased speed and bandwidth offered by NVMe SSDs, which can be GB/s. As a result we get almost instant loading times, higher frame rate and a general improvement in the complexity of the game. Its main obstacle is that, at the moment, the compatibility of games capable of taking advantage of this technology is very low. So we will have to wait for developers to be able to implement it in games compatible with Windows 11 over the next few years.
Is it necessary to activate it?
As we have mentioned before, DirectSorage is an API, which must be implemented by the game developers so that we can make use of it. Therefore, there is nothing on our part that we need to do, neither install nor activate anything. In the event that we use a game compatible with this technology and our computer meets the requirements for its use, it will be enabled by default.
What we must take into account is the system configuration that we must have in order to take advantage of it:
- NVMe SSDs with an interface Minimum PCIe 3.0, but better than PCIe 4.0 to experience maximum performance. The NVMe volume must be a minimum of 1TB.
- Graphic card compliant with specifications DirectX 12 Ultimate. Some examples would be Nvidia’s RTX 2000 and RTX 3000 series, and AMD’s RDNA 2 line.
- DirectStorage will only be compatible with Windows 10 (version 1909 and higher), as well as Windows 11.
If we want to know for sure if our graphics card is compatible with DirectX 12, we can check it from the operating system itself. To do this, press the Windows + R keyboard shortcut, which will launch the execute command. Here we write dxdiag and press Enter or the OK button.
This will bring up the window DirectX Diagnostic Tool. Here, within the System tab, we find all the information related to it. At the bottom we can check the version of DirectX supported. In case we see DirectX 12 or a later version, we can be sure that our graphics card meets this requirement to be able to use DirectSorage.
Given the case that we have a complete hardware that meets the minimum system specifications, we will be able to enjoy the benefits of this new technology in games. Of course, as long as the developer uses the API for their games, something that should gradually become a common trend.
How to get the most out of the DirectStorage API
We have already mentioned that DirectStorage is going to be available in Windows 10. Although we must bear in mind that Microsoft itself has already made it clear that where it will work best will be in Windows 11. This is because this operating system is much better prepared to take full advantage of this technology. Therefore, if we have not yet updated the operating system, we must be clear that, if we really want to notice an improvement in the games, we will have no choice but to jump through hoops.
It is also highly recommended that our NVMe SSD is of the PICe 4.0 type. This is necessary because there is a significant jump in reading speed, which will allow much faster communication between RAM and GPU. All this ends up having an impact on significantly improving both the performance and the loading speed of compatible games.