Square Enix’s open-world fantasy action role-playing game Forspoken is the first game to feature Microsoft’s DirectStorage technology, which significantly speeds up game level loading when using SSDs. YouTube channel Compussemble compared the in-game performance of SSDs of different generations in-game with DirectStorage 1.1 – the results were interesting.
Games typically compress game resources to save memory, and when you start or load levels, those resources are decompressed by the CPU (Central Processing Unit) before they get to the graphics card, resulting in longer loading times. DirectStorage technology shifts the processes of unpacking and loading game resources directly to the graphics card, offloading the CPU and reducing the loading time of the game level.
Below are the results of testing Microsoft DirectStorage 1.1 technology on three SSD models of different generations. The study included Adata XPG SX8200 Pro PCIe 3.0 drives, the new Samsung 990 Pro PCIe 4.0, and an unnamed PCIe 5.0 SSD with the advanced Phison E26 controller.
The total loading time for seven Forspoken game scenes/levels using an Adata XPG SX8200 Pro (PCIe 3.0) drive was 13.838 seconds. The Samsung 990 Pro (PCIe 4.0) completed downloads in 10.872 seconds, while the new PCIe 5.0 SSD clocked in at 10.483 seconds. Thus, the difference in boot time between the oldest and the newest generation of SSDs running DirectStorage 1.1 was only three seconds.
Formally, the PCIe 3.0 drive was 32% slower than the PCIe 5.0 model. But in reality, it turned out for the user that the performance difference in loaded scenes was imperceptible. And this despite the fact that PCIe 5.0 SSDs have four times the bandwidth compared to PCIe 3.0. In other words, DirectStorage technology not only works, but also reduces the border between different generations of SSDs. Right, only in games.