- DirectStorage 1.1 arrives with GPU decompression for Windows 11 (and 10) games.
- The feature will speed up asset decompression, boosting gaming performance.
- GPU decompression is available now, and updates for games and drives are required.
In gaming, “GPU decompression” allows graphics cards to decompress the game assets instead of the main computer’s processor. Since new games pack many large assets, such as landscapes, characters, and other objects need to be compressed to reduce the size for easier delivery over the internet or physical media.
Up until recently, the decompression work was done by the main computer’s processor, but DirectStorage 1.1 allows moving this task to the GPU, significantly reducing the time it takes to load games and move from world to world.
According to Microsoft, offloading the decompression of assets to the graphics card can boost gaming performance as much as three times because it allows the CPU to take care of other game processes.
DirectStorage 1.1 with GPU decompression is expected to become available for developers before the end of the year, and eventually, the company plans to bring the technology to Windows 11 and its predecessor, Windows 10. However, since Windows 11 gets some additional optimizations in the IO stack, the boost in gaming performance will be more noticeable on devices running Windows 11.
In addition to Microsoft releasing DirectStorage 1.1, developers still have to optimize their games to use the new decompression technology, and graphics card manufacturers have to release new versions of their drivers to make it all work. Furthermore, the feature will only be available on hardware that supports DirectX 12 with Shader Model 6.0 or higher, and you will need to update the graphics driver (from AMD, Intel, or Nvidia) to the latest version.
Intel’s latest Arc graphics driver (version 101.3793) includes the company’s own optimizations for DirectStorage 1.1. Nvidia also already includes support in the current Game Ready Driver (version 526.47) that takes advantage of the new DirectStorage features, and AMD is still working on the support.
If you want to further optimize the gaming performance on Windows 11, Microsoft recommends disabling these security features.
Updated November 11, 2022: This article was initially published in October, but it’s been revised to reflect the official release date in November 2022.