Xbox Series X storage tech is coming to Windows 10
Although it may have 12 teraflops of graphics power, one of the Xbox Series X's best features will be its fast SSD storage which promises to eliminate game load times. And that feature arrives on Windows 10 PCs.
Microsoft is working on bringing its DirectStorage API to Windows 10 developers, all with the expectation that they will have the tools to allow games to better tap into advances made in SSDs, such as PCIe and NVMe storage, and thus have faster loading times.
Microsoft has clarified that modern games are really good at breaking down complicated data, so they have a lot more to load than older games.
By reducing games assets such as textures into smaller pieces and loading just what's needed to make the current game scene, modern games use a lot more IO processes than older ones that tended to load game assets into a few big chunks.
This current approach is more effective, but requires a lot of IO processes which Microsoft said may presently be a problem for PCs.
Microsoft said, “Unfortunately, current storage APIs were not optimized for this high number of IO requests, preventing them from scaling up to these higher NVMe bandwidths creating bottlenecks that limit what games can do, Even with super-fast PC hardware and an NVMe drive, games using the existing APIs will be unable to fully saturate the IO pipeline leaving precious bandwidth on the table.”
But DirectStorage aims to solve this by optimizing the data flow from NVMe storage to the graphics card, which provides all the game rendering, in simple terms. This will include more IO and better decompression of assets that have been taken from an SSD into a GPU.
If you have a Windows 10 PC with NVMe SSD storage, you could probably wind up loading times much faster when it comes to running games of the future.
Given that Nvidia has just unveiled the GeForce RTX 3090, RTX 3080 and RTX 3070, all of which promise a hike in graphics output and better IO results, it's a good time to be a PC gamer, even in the face of the upcoming PS5 and Xbox Series X.