Microsoft releases DirectStorage update for HDD support

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DirectStorage 1.2 will be able to use buffered data to support HDDs as well. Microsoft says developers asked for the possibility of hdd support. DirectStorage is an sdk that can reduce loading times in games.

The sdk used to only use unbuffered data, to avoid using ‘unnecessary copies’ of files. For example, DirectStorage could get data to the GPU as quickly as possible. However, HDDs use buffered files to disguise the long search times, Microsoft writes. Developers therefore had to use different code for games that run on SSDs and games that run on HDDs.

Some developers told Microsoft they would like it better if they could use the same code for both HDDs and SSDs, that’s why Microsoft now comes with a ForceFileBuffering setting. According to Microsoft, the game must be able to recognize when the player installs the game on the HDD or SSD, so that DirectStorage can use unbuffered files if the player uses an SSD.

Microsoft does not say whether DirectStorage also ensures shorter loading times on HDDs. The company has previously said that the SDK has a greater impact on systems with faster SSDs than on PCs with slower SSDs. The 1.2 version continues to fix bugs and should run faster than the 1.1 version.

DirectStorage is an SDK that developers can implement in games and should enable faster loading by handling the higher I/O requests possible with NVMe storage. The first version appeared over a year ago; in November came an update that adds gpu decompression for shorter loading times. The sdk is not widely used as far as we know; Forspoken does use DirectStorage.