Windows 11 DirectStorage feature is officially coming to Windows 10 as well

Written by Chad Norton on Mon, Jul 19, 2021 4:12 PM

Well that’s another item we can add to the bucket of confusing questions Microsoft has given us ever since they officially revealed the next generation of Windows. Lots of details have come out about the new operating system since then, but as it turns out now one of Windows 11’s most exciting features is actually coming to Windows 10 after all.

Last month, it was revealed that one of the best features for gamers coming to Windows 11 would be exclusive to the new OS, that of course being DirectStorage. But a new DirectX Developer blog post has now confirmed the feature will actually be coming to Windows 10 users as well.

Microsoft is committed to ensuring that when game developers adopt a new API, they can reach as many gamers as possible,” says Hassan Uraizee, Program Manager. “As such, games built against the DirectStorage SDK will be compatible with Windows 10, version 1909 and up; the same as the DirectX 12 Agility SDK.

DirectStorage is basically a new way of handling data being processed, and is most commonly associated with big open world games that include lots of high quality textures and assets with quite long draw distances.

The aim of DirectStorage then is to circumvent the CPU and directly load assets onto the graphics card, which not only will utilize the power of NVMe SSDs to make texture streaming and load times much faster, but will also hopefully give a slight performance boost by reducing the demand on the CPU.

Uraizee then breaks down the DirectStorage features into these components:

  • The new DirectStorage API programming model that provides a DX12-style batched submission/completion calling pattern, relieving apps from the need to individually manage thousands of IO requests/completion notifications per second 
  • GPU decompression providing super-fast asset decompression for load time and streaming scenarios (coming in a later preview)  
  • Storage stack optimizations: On Windows 11, this consists of an upgraded OS storage stack that unlocks the full potential of DirectStorage, and on Windows 10, games will still benefit from the more efficient use of the legacy OS storage stack  

DirectStorage has been utilized in the latest Xbox Series X/S game consoles, and has largely been praised on that platform. The feature coming to PC has always been on the cards, but it was always a little strange for the feature to be limited to Win 11 users only, so thankfully more users will be able to use the new tech.

This also means developers and publishers should have more incentive to consider taking advantage of DirectStorage in their games, as a wider audience means more reasons to consider it.

This means that any game built on DirectStorage will benefit from the new programming model and GPU decompression technology on Windows 10, version 1909 and up. Additionally, because Windows 11 was built with DirectStorage in mind, games running on Windows 11 benefit further from new storage stack optimizations.

But what if you don’t have an NVMe SSD and are still rocking an old HDD? Thankfully, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to play DirectStorage games, as “DirectStorage enabled games will still run as well as they always have even on PCs that have older storage hardware (e.g. HDDs).

What do you think? Are you excited for DirectStorage? Was it the only reason you’d upgrade to Windows 11? Or will you still upgrade anyway? Let us know!

Are you excited for Windows 11?

What storage device do you currently use most for gaming?

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15:45 Jul-20-2021

But what if i have my games not on the primary OS ssd but on the secondary still nvme ssd. will i get directstorage?

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12:09 Jul-20-2021

well until we will see games that actually utilize this tech on pc its kind of irrelevant, i wonder which will be first, directstorage featured game or EOL for WIN10 :D

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20:13 Jul-20-2021

care to explain to me what EOL is?

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20:51 Jul-20-2021

End of life. You can google it you know

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00:24 Jul-21-2021

EoL is a pretty common abbreviation for software and hardware, so worth keeping in mind.

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05:11 Jul-20-2021

Theres just 1 tricky part here.
If you have a sort of older mobo, then nvme m2's will eat up 2 sata slots.
True, you get a much faster way of handling data by the m2, but at 2 sata slots you could also attach 2 normal ssd's
So its a choice here with an older mobo. Either the direct storage, or more also quite fast loading times with 2 extra potential ssd's :) (or hdd's ocfourse for backup)

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22:15 Jul-19-2021

Direct storage is the most interesting feature in win 11 to me, so if it's available on win 10 as well idk if I'm going to upgrade anymore

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22:12 Jul-19-2021

w10: 1
w11: 0

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18:11 Jul-19-2021

Super! Now we don't have to worry about M$ locking any features away artificially from Win10. I'll upgrade when I feel like it :)

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18:08 Jul-19-2021

It works on everything but games will still be limited by the lowest common nominator sata ssd/hdd´s. Once we have games to test we might find a difference that the game loads slightly faster? So far this looks like a nothing burger (much like win 11 itself).

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18:12 Jul-19-2021

It'll make sense for those with M.2 storage, but the main takeaway here, IMO, is that they're not gonna artificially lock it to Win11, so no forced upgrading if a new game with direct storage comes out

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18:39 Jul-19-2021

Even then the game loading 3 seconds faster wouldnt convince me to change the platform im familiar with.

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18:46 Jul-19-2021

You might want to google what DirectStorage aims to do and what it can achieve first, before your next comment.

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19:16 Jul-19-2021

And what can it do in a ecosystem that is mostly sata ssd/hdd based and you still need to build in redundancies for older tech. Again you build a game for the majority not the new shiny thing, same as it has been with ray tracing.

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21:11 Jul-19-2021

Well then it's not my fault people aren't upgrading, is it? I have well over 5TB worth of SSDs, including an M.2, in my rig, I could use the tech. I could also use raytracing. Your complaint about the HDD/SSD ecosystem (PC) is valid, but that's just saying how unwilling people are to change for the better. Gaming from a HDD should have been illegal for the last 5 years as far as I'm concerned, but it's a free world and consoles get the better stuff AGAIN after the generational leap, because PC people are sooo slow to upgrade in general.


That being said, I'm sure DirectStorage can be implemented alongside regular content streaming, for those of us who could make use of it.

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22:25 Jul-19-2021

I expect direct storage to actually be required once support for windows 10 has already ended. Im not a game developer so i cant really imagine the ways this can be implemented.

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02:42 Jul-20-2021

The new storage stack has been wonderful to deal with. I can't wait for stuff other than games to utilize direct storage to really take advantage of it. Load times have went down for almost everything. Other than a single hdd in my laptop and desktop for basic storage, I'm on two m.2 for both with a bunch of ssd for the desktop.

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09:26 Jul-20-2021

So gaming from HDD should be illegal, but cryptomining should be legal from you point of you and don't dare to touch it??
What a pathetic hypocrite you are!!

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11:55 Jul-20-2021

Yes, I am a hypocrite and HDD gaming should be illegal under international law and punishable by death. I also love sarcasm and replying to dumb comments :)

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00:27 Jul-21-2021

Oh, by the way, the article does contain this line:


“DirectStorage enabled games will still run as well as they always have even on PCs that have older storage hardware (e.g. HDDs).”


So there's no reason to NOT implement DirectStorage then.

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