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Xbox tech set to reduce CPU overhead up to 40% when gaming on Windows 11

Forspoken will be the first game to use DirectStorage on PC
(Image credit: Square Enix)

Windows 11 gamers could get some really beefy benefits from DirectStorage tech, which was recently announced to have arrived on Microsoft’s newest OS – but it’ll be some time yet before developers incorporate it into games.

We already knew that Windows 11 would give users ‘optimal’ results with DirectStorage (compared to Windows 10) in terms of what this feature does – namely seriously speeding up NVMe SSDs.

However, there’s been an eye-opening revelation concerning exactly how much difference this will make when it comes to relieving the pressure on the PC’s processor.

As TweakTown (opens in new tab) reports, Cooper Partin, a senior software engineer at Microsoft, explained that the DirectStorage implementation for PC is specifically designed for Windows.

Partin noted: “DirectStorage is designed for modern gaming systems. It handles smaller reads more efficiently, and you can batch multiple requests together. When fully integrated with your title, DirectStorage, with an NVMe SSD on Windows 11, reduces the CPU overhead in a game by 20-40%.

“This is attributed to the advancements made in the file IO stack on Windows 11 and the improvements on that platform in general.”


Analysis: CPU resources freed which will make a major difference elsewhere

A 40% reduction is a huge difference in terms of lightening the load on the CPU, although that is a best-case scenario – but even 20% is a big step forward for freeing up processor resources.

Those resources can then be used elsewhere to help big open world games run more smoothly – as we’ve seen before, DirectStorage isn’t simply about making games load more quickly . There’s much more to it than that, and now we’re getting some exciting glimpses of exactly how much difference this Microsoft tech could make to PC games.

Of course, while the public SDK (software development kit) has been released, it’s still up to game developers to bake in this tech when they’re coding, and it’ll be quite some time before we see DirectStorage appearing in many games.

The first game which uses DirectStorage is Forspoken, and we got a glimpse of that at GDC, where it was shown to load up in a single second. Forspoken is scheduled to arrive in October 2022.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).