DirectStorage Shows Just Minor Load-Speed Improvements In Real-World PC Demo
As a demonstration of DirectStorage, though, Forspoken’s numbers are a mixed bag. On one hand, the examples Ono showcased clearly demonstrate DirectStorage loading scenes more quickly on the same hardware, compared to the legacy Win32 API — from 2.6 seconds to 2.2 seconds in one scene, and from 2.4 seconds to 1.9 seconds in another. Forspoken demonstrated performance improvements on older SATA-based SSDs as well, despite being marketed as a feature that will primarily benefit NVMe drives — dropping from 5.0 to 4.6 seconds in one scene, and from 4.1 to 3.4 seconds in another. Speed improvements for SATA SSDs have been limited for the better part of a decade now because the SATA interface itself (rather than the SSD controller or NAND flash chips) has been holding them back. So eking out any kind of measurable improvement for those drives is noteworthy.
On the other hand, Ono’s demo showed that game load time wasn’t improving as dramatically as the raw I/O speeds would suggest. On an NVMe SSD, I/O speeds increased from 2,862MB/s using Win32 to 4,829MB/s using DirectStorage — nearly a 70 percent increase. But the load time for the scene decreased from 2.1 to 1.9 seconds. That’s a decrease that wouldn’t be noticeable even if you were trying to notice it. The Forspoken demo ultimately showed that the speed of the storage you’re using still has a lot more to do with how quickly your games load than DirectStorage does. One scene that took 24.6 seconds to load using DirectStorage on an HDD took just 4.6 seconds to load on a SATA SSD and 2.2 seconds to load on an NVMe SSD. That’s a much larger gap than the one between Win32 and DirectStorage running on the same hardware.
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