Microsoft says DirectStorage can reduce your CPU usage by 40%

midian182

Posts: 8,007   +87
Staff member
Why it matters: Microsoft has talked plenty about the changes that its DirectStorage Xbox technology will bring to Windows PC users, but it's not just speedy loading times we'll get to enjoy: it will also take the pressure off your CPU, reducing a processor's overhead in games by up to 40% in some cases.

Microsoft senior software engineer Cooper Partin, a developer on the DirectStorage for Windows team, explained in a video how the technology was designed to utilize PC hardware fully, and that's especially true when using Windows 11 alongside an NVMe drive; a setup that could offer a 20% to 40% CPU saving. "This is attributed to the advancements made in the file IO stack on Windows 11 and the improvements on that platform in general," said Partin.

While DirectStorage also supports Windows 10 (19H1+), it won't offer the same sort of performance those running Microsoft's latest OS will see.

Freeing up processor resources will have a number of benefits for gamers. Those extra CPU cycles could be used for background processing, AI workloads, or other game features, such as gigantic open-worlds, which can often cause older processors to groan under the weight of the workload.

Additionally, extra CPU resources should be welcomed by anyone who finds their PC performance is severely impacted when trying to game and stream/capture footage at the same time.

Will DirectStorage be enough to encourage those who shun Windows 11 to upgrade? Probably not, at least initially, given that the only game announced so far to support the tech is Forspoken, which doesn't arrive until October 11. Moreover, we'll need to put Microsoft's claims of much better Windows 11 performance to the test.

Developer Luminous Productions says that DirectStorage will reduce Forspoken's loading times from an average of 10 seconds when using a SATA SSD to just one second with DirectStorage on an NVMe SSD, though that's being disputed. The API was made generally available to devs last week, so it could be a while before more games start supporting it.

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QuantumPhysics

Posts: 6,308   +7,247
Chances are, we won't actually get Direct Storage till the next iteration of Xbox Series X or till the next Xbox and PS6 come to market.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 2,216   +4,268
Knowing Microsoft, they'll grab 35% out of the 40% freed up performance for telemetry and advertising.

No thanks, I'll just wait with "slow" performing nvme drives of todays for a few years for this to be more viable in Linux if (not when) this type of tech is implemented and even improved upon. Hell with a lightweight Linux distro, you might just save 40% CPU cycles *already* because of the minimal footprint when compared to 10 and 11.
 

m4a4

Posts: 2,936   +3,790
TechSpot Elite
Even if it's a slight reduction in practice, I'll take more CPU going towards the game engine. There are certain games where the CPU is usually the bottleneck. I certainly won't complain about it just because MS is related to the tech...
 

Athlonite

Posts: 338   +126
I still can't see why this is dependant on game devs to implement this should have been game agnostic and just handled by the OS. Otherwise what's the point you're just making a devs job harder because they'll now have to spend ours faffing around to get this to run instead of spending that time putting out a better product and alot of todays AAA game most likely won't be patched to include this
 

Watzupken

Posts: 634   +518
To me, this reduction in CPU usage is pointless. They are basically offloading the load from CPU to GPU if I am not mistaken. Ultimately, its one or the other that will have to pick up the slack. So with more CPU resources freed up, it may help when you are gaming at 1080p as this is very CPU bound. Whereas, I feel we may see regression in performance at higher resolution. There are many ways in which MS can reduce CPU usage, first by cutting down the number of bloatware and processes that runs in the background. Since they introduced Win 10, I believe there are a lot more processes running in the background (MS related) because if you try to run Win 10 on a mechanical drive, you may mistaken that the system is broken because it is so dang slow. Whereas if you use a mechanical drive to run Win 7, it is not fast, but not as slow as on Win 10.
 

m4a4

Posts: 2,936   +3,790
TechSpot Elite
I still can't see why this is dependant on game devs to implement this should have been game agnostic and just handled by the OS. Otherwise what's the point you're just making a devs job harder because they'll now have to spend ours faffing around to get this to run instead of spending that time putting out a better product and alot of todays AAA game most likely won't be patched to include this
That's.. not how these things work. It's a game engine level optimization. You can't just flip a switch in the OS and expect resource loading to just magically do something completely different...

Are you trolling? Or do you think it's really that simple?
 

Gezzer

Posts: 271   +139
20-40%? Yeah, sounds great. But for me at this point it's a unproven quantity. I'd really like to see some real world testing with it enabled and disabled first. As well what effect does it have with GPU bound games? Too many unproven promises for me to just jump on board I'm afraid.
 

brucek

Posts: 1,152   +1,711
If it's 40% how come these fixes weren't made years ago? The files we're talking about are still on NTFS right? It's not exactly a new filesystem. The first NVMe specification was in 2011 so that's not exactly new either.
 

theruck

Posts: 548   +345
If microsoft says so, then its most probably not true and most probably useless as the cpu performance is the cheapest resource in the pc for several years
 

texasrattler

Posts: 1,304   +627
Wouldnt this be best on a weaker or older system? A newer system say 10th gen or newer may not see a big improvement but id think older systems with a 7th, 8th or 9th gen proc could benefit. Id say more the 9th gen could benefit greatly as there is no hyperthreading except for i9 model. Even if its not 40%, I think there could be some benefits for the right setup.
 

Aaron Fox

Posts: 153   +90
The files we're talking about are still on NTFS right? It's not exactly a new filesystem.
Apple sold its new APFS filesystem on that basis.

It's a lot slower than the very old HFS+ it replaced, even on flash.

It's so slow on mechanical hard disks that it forces people to stop using Macs that contain them which can't be easily disassembled (like iMacs). I put Linux on one for an old lady and there was no brightness control available that would run in a recent release.

What did people get from the groovy newness of APFS? Nanosecond time stamping (for the best-possible spying) and the inability for ordinary users to actually delete any files. Things like that.

So, I would reconsider wishing for a new-and-improved filesystem from a corporation like MS.
 

Athlonite

Posts: 338   +126
That's.. not how these things work. It's a game engine level optimization. You can't just flip a switch in the OS and expect resource loading to just magically do something completely different...

Are you trolling? Or do you think it's really that simple?
No I'm not trolling and yes you can just flip a switch and make things work in a whole new way take for instance HDR, Free/Gsync, SAM. the way it is now is just MS being lazy F__ks as usual and forcing the job onto devs