Tuesday, July 20th 2021

Microsoft DirectStorage Not a Windows 11 Exclusive

Microsoft DirectStorage API, a game-changing technology that seeks to lower game load times and improve performance, will not be a Windows 11 exclusive, but make it to Windows 10. Shortly following the Windows 11 announcement, it was learned that Microsoft might wall off DirectStorage to Windows 11, which no longer appears to be the case. The DirectStorage Developer Preview is now available, and it works on Windows 10 version 1909 (or later), letting game developers begin exploring the technology and consider integrating it with their current or ongoing game development.

DirectStorage lets a GPU directly stream compressed game assets from an NVMe SSD, where they are uncompressed using compute shaders; cutting out a significant amount of back-and-forth with the CPU, freeing up its hardware resources, resulting in a net gain from reduced game-loading times. This would give gamers on Windows 10 one more reason to remain on the OS until Windows 11 matures. The new OS, however, could have an advantage over Windows 10 on machines with hybrid CPU cores, such as the upcoming "Alder Lake" processors, as its scheduler purportedly has greater awareness of hybrid core topologies.
Source: HotHardware
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13 Comments on Microsoft DirectStorage Not a Windows 11 Exclusive

#1
Faith[ROG].Anarchy
Interesting, one more reason to not upgrading to 11 immediately.
Maybe the only thing left is the 12th gen Intel CPUs now.
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#2
Chomiq
Just cause preview is available for Windows 10 it doesn't mean that the actual feature won't be walled off. Maybe devs don't want to use insider builds of W11 to develop for this.
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#3
lynx29
Does anyone know if DirectStorage will benefit more from the IOPS being high or the read/write being high?
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#4
Metroid
There it goes my windows 11 adventure ehhe
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#5
Chrispy_
There are hundreds of articles on the web about the initial announcement last month that DirectStorage would be a Windows 11 exclusive. All of them cite Microsoft as a source and many of them use the word "confirmed".

Microsoft have clearly changed their tune. Was it the enormous quantity of rightly-cynical and critical internet backlash or was it developers who kicked up enough fuss for Microsoft to change their minds?
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#6
zlobby
Chrispy_There are hundreds of articles on the web about the initial announcement last month that DirectStorage would be a Windows 11 exclusive. All of them cite Microsoft as a source and many of them use the word "confirmed".

Microsoft have clearly changed their tune. Was it the enormous quantity of rightly-cynical and critical internet backlash or was it developers who kicked up enough fuss for Microsoft to change their minds?
It looks to me that management of M$ lives in anoter reality.
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#7
ExcuseMeWtf
MS crumbling on their resolve for W11 already? heh, who would've thought...
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#8
Aretak
Chrispy_There are hundreds of articles on the web about the initial announcement last month that DirectStorage would be a Windows 11 exclusive. All of them cite Microsoft as a source and many of them use the word "confirmed".

Microsoft have clearly changed their tune. Was it the enormous quantity of rightly-cynical and critical internet backlash or was it developers who kicked up enough fuss for Microsoft to change their minds?
More like this article is completely misleading and shameless clickbait. The fact that a developer preview of DirectStorage works on Windows 10 doesn't mean that the actual finalised and implemented system will. It would make no sense to limit a preview version of it aimed at developers to Windows 11, since that would require installing an unstable operating system still in beta testing to perform development work on. Something nobody in their right mind would ever do. This has absolutely zero bearing on whether Microsoft will choose to artifically wall it off at a later date (and they've already said that they will).
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#9
windwhirl
ChomiqJust cause preview is available for Windows 10 it doesn't mean that the actual feature won't be walled off. Maybe devs don't want to use insider builds of W11 to develop for this.
Seems like it won't be walled off, as long as you're on 1909 or later

devblogs.microsoft.com/directx/directstorage-developer-preview-now-available/
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
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#10
Minus Infinity
Would be the ultimate act of stupidity to alienate 1.3 billion users of windows 10.
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#11
windwhirl
Minus InfinityWould be the ultimate act of stupidity to alienate 1.3 billion users of windows 10.
Eh, I doubt it would have had that much of a negative impact, for the following reasons:
1-Outside of people like us who are aware of this feature, most would think that the fault would reside in their hardware being old or the game being too demanding.
2-We don't know anything about DirectStorage's real-world impact. Until we don't see reviews of it, its performance impact is unknown.
3-Microsoft has done this before, limiting DX10 and 11 to Windows Vista or newer (with DX10 being the most relevant to this, since it launched with Vista) and DX12 to Windows 10. Aside from a couple whines here and there, there wasn't much complaint for an arguably larger group of important features.
4-Exactly how many people are using Windows to play games? This is a very important piece of data to even start to make a guess on whether there would be a critical amount of people complaining about DirectStorage not being available on Windows 10.

I'd argue that if you want an actual act of stupidity, look at Windows 11 being far more strict with minimum system requirements. And even then, Microsoft's reasons for it don't seem completely unreasonable, regardless of whether we like them or not.
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#12
Purgatory
The article is missing the most important thing... Direct confirmation from Microsoft that windows 10 is able to use direct storage which is right here :- devblogs.microsoft.com/directx/directstorage-developer-preview-now-available/

DirectStorage Compatibility 

Microsoft is committed to ensuring that when game developers adopt a new API, they can reach as many gamers as possible. 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.


DirectStorage features can be broken down into:
  • 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
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. Additionally, because Windows 11 was built with DirectStorage in mind, games running on Windows 11 benefit further from new storage stack optimizations. The API runtime implementation and the GPU decompression technology is delivered via the DirectStorage SDK, and ships with your game. As a game developer, you need only implement DirectStorage once into your engine, and all the applicable benefits will be automatically applied and scaled appropriately for gamers.


In fact, this great compatibility extends to a variety of different hardware configurations as well. DirectStorage enabled games will still run as well as they always have even on PCs that have older storage hardware (e.g. HDDs).


We’re super excited to see what the future holds and are committed to working with studios to bring DirectStorage enabled gaming experiences to gamers everywhere!
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#13
THU31
So what about Auto HDR? Less desirable than DirectStorage, but it would still be nice to have.
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