One of the great novelties that will come from the hand of Windows 11 is, without a doubt, DirectStorage. A technology especially aimed at gamers who, together with AutoHDR, pretain to raise an important qualitative leap in the gaming experience in their operating system. And is that Microsoft knows that one of the competitive advantages of Windows compared to other operating systems is its endless catalog of games, which makes it the most chosen platform for gaming. And no, with this I am not saying that it cannot be played on Linux and macOS, but it is undeniable that the offer is much more limited.
DirectStorage is not actually a new technology, actually we heard of it for the first time from the hand of the advances that Microsoft was making on the development of the (then future) Xbox Series X / S. A little over a year ago Microsoft told us about Xbox Velocity Architecture, the set of technologies with which the new generation of Microsoft’s console wanted to compete with PlayStation. Technologies we expected to make it to Windows 10.
These expectations skyrocketed in April when Microsoft announced DirectX 12 Agility, a SDK that separated the deployment of new functions from operating system updates. From that moment we began to talk about the more than likely arrival of DirectStorage to Windows 10, and the surprise was even greater when we learned that, contrary to what was expected, this API would not only be compatible with the PCIE Gen4 standard, but also it could be used with PCIE Gen3 drives, thus sparing many users the need to upgrade their storage media.
Yesterday, with the announcement of Windows 11, Microsoft confirmed that this operating system will have DirectStorage, but the surprise came later, when we learned that this technology will finally not be available in Windows 10. Users who want to enjoy the performance advantages offered by this API will have to necessarily update to Windows 11 (remember, of course, that the update will be free), in addition to having compatible hardware.
Specifically, it will be a sine qua non condition to have an NVIDIA GeForce RTX Series 20/30 or AMD Radeon RX Series 6000 graphics card, as well as with an NVMe storage unit managed by Microsoft’s “Standard NVM Express Controller” driver, and that its capacity cannot be less than one terabyte. Only systems that meet these technical requirements and, of course, have been upgraded to Windows 11, will be able to take advantage of DirectStorage.
And what is DirectStorage? Well, in a solution to a bottleneck identified for years, and that has been weighing down the performance of consoles and computers. Although it is more complex than this, we can summarize it in that it unloads an important part of the work to the CPU, speeding up the transfer of resources from the storage unit to the memory of the graphics card, where they are decompressed to be employed by the GPU.