PC gaming got a big boost this week in the form of DirectStorage 1.1

Samsung 990 Pro SSD
(Image credit: Chuong Nguyen)

What you need to know

  • DirectStorage 1.1 is now available on Windows 11 and Windows 10.
  • The new version of DirectStorage supports GPU decompression, which shifts the workload of decompressing files from a system's CPU to its GPU.
  • Developers have to integrate DirectStorage 1.1 into specific titles to take advantage of the feature.

DirectStorage 1.1 with GPU decompression is now available on both Windows 11 and Windows 10. The upgraded DirectStorage allows developers to shift the workload of decompressing files from a system's CPU to a GPU. This setup is optimal because the best graphics cards handle parallel processing well. As a result, PCs can load games significantly quicker when DirectStorage 1.1 is implemented.

Microsoft announced the availability (opens in new tab) of DirectStorage 1.1 earlier this week. That post includes links to guides for developers as well as a quick overview of the feature. A previous blog post (opens in new tab) from when the feature was in its final stages took a much deeper dive into how DirectStorage 1.1 improves PC gaming:

"Typically, decompression work is done on the CPU because compression formats have historically been optimized for CPUs only. We are offering an alternative method in DirectStorage 1.1 by moving the decompression of those assets to the GPU instead – known as “GPU decompression.” Graphics cards are extremely efficient at performing repeatable tasks in parallel, and we can utilize that capability along with the bandwidth of a high-speed NVMe drive to do more work at once. As a result, the amount of time it takes for an asset to load decreases, reducing level load times and improving open world streaming."

In other words, PCs can process many tasks at once to reduce loading times. When used in conjunction with a high-speed NVMe drive, game times should be much quicker with DirectStorage 1.1.

GPU decompression is available on both Windows 11 and Windows 10, but the former has additional optimizations that make it the recommended OS for the feature. Manufacturers can further optimize hardware to work with DirectStorage 1.1 as well.

NVIDIA (opens in new tab), AMD, and Intel also shared posts about DirectStorage 1.1 and GPU decompression this week.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).