# MICROSOFT RELEASES DIRECTSTORAGE 1.2 TO IMPROVE GAMING PERFORMANCE ON OLDER HARD DRIVES
Microsoft has released version 1.2 of its DirectStorage SDK, an API designed to streamline the communication between solid-state drives (SSDs) and graphics processing units (GPUs). The latest update includes a buffered mode feature, which improves legacy hard drives’ performance to support DirectStorage. While DirectStorage’s unbuffered mode has been primarily designed for modern, high-speed SSDs, the new feature enables developers to use the same code on both SSDs and outdated hard disk drives (HDDs).
In the buffered mode, games installed on slower HDDs will benefit from operating system (OS) features and speed increases. Microsoft’s DirectX team has explained that “legacy hard drives require buffered IO in order to mask the long seek times.” The buffered mode masks these long seek times, providing support for such outdated hardware.
In addition to the buffered mode, DirectStorage 1.2 also includes GPU decompression for textures, which enables games to offload the work needed to decompress assets to the graphics card rather than the CPU. This technology is not new; it was first introduced in DirectStorage 1.1, and Microsoft has been improving the feature in its latest version, DirectStorage 1.2, to make it more speedy and effective.
However, we are still waiting to see game developers adopt these features for their games. Currently, only Forspoken has added DirectStorage support, and the technology improved load times by approximately 30 percent or more. Nevertheless, Nvidia, AMD, and Intel have announced their readiness to support these latest GPU decompression techniques, which should encourage more game developers to integrate DirectStorage’s features, especially to benefit older hardware.
To sum up, DirectStorage 1.2’s release is good news for gamers still relying on HDDs rather than the more expensive SSDs to store and play games. The buffered mode feature now provides them with an opportunity to enjoy games’ speed increase without upgrading to modern high-end SSDs. Hopefully, game developers will soon adopt these features to make the gaming experience better and smoother.