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Windows 11's best gaming feature now being enabled in Windows 10

Topher

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Microsoft confirms DirectStorage is compatible with Windows 10 so developers "can reach as many gamers as possible."


DirectStorage is one of the big three new PC gaming features coming to Windows 11, but despite calling it an OS exclusive around the announcement of the upcoming OS, Microsoft has now confirmed it will be supported in Windows 10 too.

In Sarah Bond's article about the new operating system being the 'best Windows ever for gaming,' Microsoft's gaming corporate VP explicitly states that DirectStorage "will only be available with Windows 11." But a new DirectX Developer Blog post has announced the availability of a developer preview of the DirectStorage API, and in that Hassan Uraizee explains that the SDK will be compatible with Windows 10 from version 1909 and up.

"Microsoft is committed to ensuring that when game developers adopt a new API, they can reach as many gamers as possible," writes Uraizee. "As such, games built against the DirectStorage SDK will be compatible with Windows 10, version 1909 and up; the same as the DirectX 12 Agility SDK."

The promise of DirectStorage is that it streamlines the way game data gets processed, taking advantage of the modern storage hardware in our gaming PCs. Using NVMe SSDs, the DirectStorage API aims to reduce game load times and support the huge open world games of our dreams, ensuring texture data et al gets streamed into the world way beyond your vision rather than popping up in front of your face.

It plans to do this by largely circumventing the processor and quickly loading assets into your graphics card, lowering CPU usage and hopefully improving system performance along the way.

Uraizee breaks down the features of DirectStorage into these bullet points:

  • The new DirectStorage API programming model that provides a DX12-style batched submission/completion calling pattern, relieving apps from the need to individually manage thousands of IO requests/completion notifications per second.
  • GPU decompression providing super-fast asset decompression for load time and streaming scenarios (coming in a later preview).
  • Storage stack optimizations: On Windows 11, this consists of an upgraded OS storage stack that unlocks the full potential of DirectStorage, and on Windows 10, games will still benefit from the more efficient use of the legacy OS storage stack




It's a genuinely exciting bit of tech, one that's been baked into the new Xbox Series X/S consoles, and one we could see no reason should be ring fenced only for those who upgrade to Windows 11. After all, the new OS started out life as a big feature update for Windows 10, so any barriers would seem to be purely arbitrary if enforced.


But the wider compatibility should mean more gamers have access to the feature, but the broader user base should also encourage developers and publishers to ensure that DirectStorage is considered for new and existing projects.


"This means that any game built on DirectStorage will benefit from the new programming model and GPU decompression technology on Windows 10, version 1909 and up," he reiterates. "Additionally, because Windows 11 was built with DirectStorage in mind, games running on Windows 11 benefit further from new storage stack optimizations."


But developers will only need to implement the new feature once into the game, with the SDK itself controlling which aspects of DirectStorage are available to your system without either you or the developer having to do anything to have it running correctly for their setup.


Having DirectStorage enabled in a game will also not preclude those still tied to hard drives from accessing any given title. "DirectStorage enabled games will still run as well as they always have even on PCs that have older storage hardware (e.g. HDDs)," concludes Uraizee.

https://www.pcgamer.com/windows-11-directstorage-windows-10/
 
Mar 28, 2021
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Nice. For years I shit on people who refused to give up on Windows 7 but I take it all back...I'm staying on Windows 10 as long as possible. I tried Windows 11 out in the Dev channel, and yes I know it's a work in progress, but once the excitement of new icons/ui wore off I went straight back to Windows 10. It's not even like MS have done a good job of giving it a new look and feel. They still can't do a proper dark theme. There is soooooooo many inconsistencies and they are held back by old software and compatability. I said it before but MS really need to start over from scratch and build a modern OS to get rid of all the bloat. Windows 11 is a glorified Windows 10 update. It's literally called Windows 10 21H2. It's still Windows 10 but they are just marketing it as the next version.
 
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spons

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Now they need to get rid of the stupid tpm requirement for 11 and expand the compatible cpu list.
How are you planning to play games on a system that has neither? Or are you one of those 2500k forever folks?
 
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rickybooby87

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I can't wait until I can switch out to Windows 11. As soon as I got wind of the death of WaaS I was sold. The only decent version of Windows to run right now is Windows 10 LTSC.
 
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Haggard

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I already made the switch to Win 11 but this is definitely good news for everyone.
 

Hypno285

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I'm a little confused. What are the requirements for this? Am I gonna be able to use this on RAID0 SSD's?
 
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Haggard

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Does it already have auto updates or I have to reinstall again every time it has updates?
Updates already work, including the update to the final version once it`s out most likely. All you have to do is register your user to the insider program and you`re set.
 
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ManaByte

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Is there anything Phil can't do? Praise be.
Aaron Paul He Cant Keep Getting Away With This GIF by Breaking Bad
 

Topher

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I'm a little confused. What are the requirements for this? Am I gonna be able to use this on RAID0 SSD's?

This is designed to take advantage of SSD and PCIe advances, but I doubt we won't know actual requirements for taking advantage of this is in games until a dev actually implements the tech. That could be a while.
 
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Jan 7, 2018
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Cant wait to see the first game to use Direct Storage. We should place bets on who it will be. You would think it would be a Microsoft game like Starfield or Redfall.
STARFIELD makes a whole lot of sense, but it's late '22. I'd hope we'll see DS in some game way before that.

edit: Dice seem to have everything out first, so it's not out of the question we might see BF2042 updated to support DS on PC first whenever DS is available.
 
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Hypno285

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This is designed to take advantage of SSD and PCIe advances, but I doubt we won't know actual requirements for taking advantage of this is in games until a dev actually implements the tech. That could be a while.
Okay, well I have two 256GB SSD's in RAID0 that I'm using as a cache for my two 2TB NAS HDD's that are also in RAID0. (Chose NAS for durability and life expectancy and it should handle RAID0 way better then regular HDD's.)

Before this directstorage thing I was thinking about buying two more HDD's so I'd have 4 HDD's in RAID0 but now I'm thinking about buying two more SSD's instead incase it works with RAID. I'm RAID0'ing somewhat old HDD's because it's cheaper and just in case something that is being read or wrote that isn't cached I can still have that quick access/loading/snappiness.

I've only spent $200 on my storage so far.
 
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Haggard

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Now they need to get rid of the stupid tpm requirement for 11 and expand the compatible cpu list.
not gonna happen due to the certification processes, and also perfectly ignorable for normal users,
These checks are only binding for OEMs that want the Windows stickers on their product, Windows hello certifications etc..., everyone else can just circumvent the install checks as before.
 
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Hypno285

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DirectStorage enabled games will still run as well as they always have even on PCs that have older storage hardware (e.g. HDDs).

I missed this part. Well that's good. 4 way RAID0 HDD's here I come.
 

CuNi

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All I hope is that they also lower the barrier from 1TB to 500GB or at least give a good technical Explanation why 500GB aren't supported.
 

Md Ray

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All I hope is that they also lower the barrier from 1TB to 500GB or at least give a good technical Explanation why 500GB aren't supported.
They removed the 1TB required thing long ago from their page. Must have been an error. So DStorage should work even on 256GB NVMe drives.
 
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Md Ray

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But the blog post said older storage hardware like HDD's.
Yes, those old HDDs and SATA-SSDs will still run as well as they've always been.

But it's actually with NVMe drives where you'll notice the benefits of DStorage API as it's specifically designed to take full advantage of the PCIe bandwidths for storage in games.
 
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BadBurger

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Looking forward to trying it out. I have two 1TB 3500 MBps read / 3000 MBps write NVMe drives in my PC now and using any capacity planning tool I can barely squeeze 1200/1000 out of them. So just imagine how little they are utilized in games.

Hopefully the I/O changes will net some kind of appreciable increase in real world performance.
 

mckmas8808

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It's essential for the adoption rate of the tech to also include win10 on the fun. Good decision by MS.

It was the only TRUE decision they could make if they really care about DirectStorage. Which they do, btw.