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Windows 10 will support DirectStorage, but with limited functionality

DirectStorage is not a Windows 11 exclusive. (Image Source: Microsoft)
DirectStorage is not a Windows 11 exclusive. (Image Source: Microsoft)
Users reluctant to upgrade to the upcoming Windows 11 version will be happy to learn that the DirectStorage feature is coming to Windows 10, as well. Faster game load times and improved GPU texture decompression speeds will require Windows 10 version 1909 and up, but Windows 11 is getting the performance edge due to its improved OS storage stack.
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Even though the NVMe standard is showing some impressive bandwidth advancements with great IO speeds, the technology is not really used to its full potential as of yet. Sure, we can see things loading faster in games and sequential read/write speeds are substantially improved over SATA SSDs when transferring files, yet the software support is lagging behind. Microsoft proved that the NVMe can make a huge difference with the implementation on the new Xbox Series X consoles that benefit from the DirectStorage technology. Game loading times thus see an x40 improvement over old HDDs on the new Xbox consoles, whereas PCs still only see 1.5 - 3x improvements. With the introduction of Windows 11, Microsoft is bringing the DirectStorage API to PCs as well. Now, it looked like this would be a Windows 11 exclusive feature to force users to jump on the new OS, but Microsoft recently clarified that DirectStorage is also coming to Windows 10. However, there is still an incentive to migrate to Windows 11, as the Win 10 DirectStorage implementation will not be as fast.

The Windows 10 compatibility is ensured through the DirectX 12 Agility SDK working in tandem with the DirectStorage SDK. Windows 10 version 1909 and up will receive DirectStorage support, but the overall speed will be somewhat affected by the legacy OS storage stack. The full DirectStorage potential will only be unlocked on Windows 11 via an upgraded OS storage stack.

Borrowing from the DX 12 batched submission/completion calling pattern, the new DirectStorage API can relieve applications from the need to individually manage thousands of IO requests/completion notifications per second through the CPU. This technology can also speed up GPU decompression and improve graphics asset load times (mostly texture-related) and streaming scenarios, but such features will be added closer to the official Windows 11 release.

In the meantime, game developers are encouraged to add DirectStorage support to existing PC-specific game engines through the DirectX 12 Ultimate SDK in order to facilitate the transition to near-instantaneous game load times and greatly reduce the texture pop-in effect for GPUs.

 

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Bogdan Solca
Bogdan Solca - Senior Tech Writer - 1535 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2017
I first stepped into the wondrous IT&C world when I was around seven years old. I was instantly fascinated by computerized graphics, whether they were from games or 3D applications like 3D Max. I'm also an avid reader of science fiction, an astrophysics aficionado, and a crypto geek. I started writing PC-related articles for Softpedia and a few blogs back in 2006. I joined the Notebookcheck team in the summer of 2017 and am currently a senior tech writer mostly covering processor, GPU, and laptop news.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 07 > Windows 10 will support DirectStorage, but with limited functionality
Bogdan Solca, 2021-07-20 (Update: 2021-07-20)