In the next year or so, the first few games will likely use Microsoft’s DirectStorage API, which is intended to better utilize SSDs and thus reduce load times. However, there is potential for optimization with SSDs, as benchmarks with a new firmware from Phison indicate.
The website tom hardware received a sample SSD with E18 controller from Phison, which comes with a new “gaming-optimized I/O+ firmware“It’s stocked. This means that the SSD must better accommodate the requirements that have changed with DirectStorage and provide more performance for these workloads.
As is well known, DirectStorage ensures that game data (e.g. textures) no longer has to be diverted through the CPU, but is transferred directly from the SSD via main memory to the video memory of the computer. graphics card and are instead decompressed there by the GPU, which is much faster in this regard.
While typical everyday SSD applications tend to require short sequential load spikes or random 4K read accesses with a small command queue (QD), the workload for games with DirectStorage is completely different:
However, DirectStorage uses large random reads at very high queue depths. So here we are dealing with large block sizes of more than 32KB and a queue depth of more than 512, which represents a possible DirectStorage workload.
Shane Downing, Tom’s Hardware
And it is precisely this type of workload that was simulated in the website test using the Iometer tool. The different scenarios had to go through the Phison SSD with special firmware and other SSDs with Phison E18 (Kingston KC300, Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus) as well as models with proprietary controllers like the Samsung 980 Pro, the WD Black SN850 or the Crucial P5 Plus.
The result: As expected, the Phison SSD optimized for this type of workload is the fastest and is a few percentage points ahead of the Kingston KC3000. The worst are the Samsung 980 Pro and the Crucial P5 Plus.
There is also a constant stream of data from the SSD via DirectStorage, requiring constant read performance during the gaming session, which can last for several hours, which further testing simulated. The optimized firmware once again has a clear advantage here, while other Phison E18 SSDs show significant performance fluctuations. The WD Black SN850 works very consistently, but with a lower transfer rate. The Samsung 980 Pro is also stable in terms of performance, but with a significantly lower transfer rate. The Crucial P5 Plus is at it again”clearly not optimized for this type of workload“writes the author.
Even if this is just a simulation and it remains to be seen what games with DirectStorage support may demand from an SSD, tests should show that there is definitely potential for optimization by SSDs and their firmware.
There shouldn’t be anything else behind the upcoming WD Black SN850X: this is simply an upgraded SN850 whose firmware is optimized for gaming, according to the report. So it’s not just Phison who sees the need for optimization.
However, Forspoken, one of the first games with DirectStorage support, is delayed. Actual testing of Microsoft’s new API will probably have to wait until next year.
Introvert. Beer guru. Communicator. Travel fanatic. Web advocate. Certified alcohol geek. Tv buff. Subtly charming internet aficionado.