Microsoft announced that its new DirectStorage API for the PC will be compliant with PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSDs at its latest Game Stack Live (GSL) 2021 case. This is significant since PCIe 3.0 drives are far more plentiful than their newer counterparts, and PCIe 4.0 drives are only available on a few newer platforms.
Until now, it was commonly thought that the technology would only fit for the most recent PCIe 4.0 drives. However, the technology would not work for SATA drives because that interface is actually too sluggish to achieve what Microsoft desires.
The DirectStorage API was originally designed for Xbox Series X / S, as Redmond said during its presentation. On the PC, it will improve local storage performance by introducing a more stable connection between NVMe SSDs and the GPU.
Established APIs currently handle each I/O request individually and in sequence. DirectStorage APIs, on the other hand, allow developers to group I/O requests into batches that can be managed in parallel. In short, it would result in shorter load times and more detailed and expansive games than ever before.
Microsoft’s DirectStorage presentation at GSL went into detail about how the technology works and how developers can use it. In case you skipped it live, we’ve embedded the video above.
Image credit: Christian Wiediger