Microsoft’s DirectStorage technology made its first appearance on PC thanks to Forspoken, and according to new tests, the feature not only significantly improves load times (for those with the right hardware), but also in-game frame rates in certain scenarios.
Newwin (opens in new tab) marked a YouTube video (opens in new tab) in which Compusemble tested Forspoken and noted that: “DirectStorage has a pretty significant effect on frame rate, frame time consistency, and GPU usage at 1080p, while having virtually no effect at higher resolutions.”
What seems to be happening here, Compusemble explains, is that DirectStorage only kicks in this way to boost frame rates when the game is CPU-limited, meaning the processor is struggling with its workload, while the graphics card is doing just fine .
That’s the case when playing Forspoken at 1080p (Full HD resolution) for Compusemble, but when the resolution is increased to 1440p, the YouTuber becomes GPU-limited instead – and the frame rate boost vanishes into thin air.
The tests were conducted with a Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus-G SSD (2TB) in a gaming PC with an RTX 3080 Ti graphics card plus Ryzen 7 7700X CPU. Keep in mind that to get the full benefit of DirectStorage you need an NVMe SSD, plus running Windows 11 gives better results than Windows 10 (the test PC used Windows 11).
Analysis: New GPU decompression technology at work? Not the case, in fact…
We knew that DirectStorage would do more than just speed up load times, and that it would make a difference in large open-world environments by boosting in-game resource loading during gameplay. But this is the first tantalizing evidence that the technology can actually boost frame rates on PC – at least in certain scenarios, namely when the GPU isn’t working up a sweat, but the CPU is getting hammered.
So this might lead you to think that this is clear evidence that the GPU decompression technology in DirectStorage 1.1 – the latest version that uses Forspoken – is coming into play here. This allows the GPU to handle the decompression of game assets (which are compressed due to size), and the graphics card can do this much more efficiently than the CPU – offloading the latter when it’s struggling, thus improving frame rates in CPU-limited scenarios.
That’s the obvious theory, but as a Digital Foundry (opens in new tab) points out separately that even though Forspoken uses DirectStorage 1.1, GPU decompression apparently isn’t really active here, as there is “no GPU compute usage spike when the game is running a special load” (when, of course, there should be if the card was doing decompression work).
All in all, this is a bit odd, and as Digital Foundry (and others) have pointed out, there are quite a few issues and glitches with Forspoken on PC. (Not exactly uncommon with games subject to multiple lags, and indeed with console ports, it must be said).
The conclusions we can draw from a single game are limited, of course, but we can say that if these are the results without the use of GPU decompression, it’s exciting to imagine what other games actually use this technology. use for frame could do. rates (away from high resolutions anyway). Though that excitement is somewhat dampened when we think about what might be the next game to use DirectStorage on PC – which, well, isn’t clear yet.
We just don’t know anything else about what games will be supported on the Windows platform after Forspoken, which is somewhat ominous in terms of suggesting that waiting for a second title – with luck with an even better implementation of DS 1.1 – might can be a long one. But next year maybe DirectStorage could become a compelling reason for gamers to upgrade to Windows 11 if they haven’t made the jump from Windows 10 yet.