Diablo IV Data Mining Discovers DirectStorage SSD Support For Hella-Fast Load Times

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A Reddit thread has confirmed the existence of Microsoft's DirectStorage API in the Diablo 4 beta. This revelation was found in the game’s internal files where a direct storage DLL file was found. If this isn’t chalked up to a mishap by the developers, Diablo 4 could see some massive loading time improvements in the future thanks to Direct Storage API integration.

DirectStorage is a new Microsoft API that is designed to reroute streams of storage data from the CPU to the GPU for the purpose of decompression. Due to the highly parallelized nature of GPUs, decompression can be processed at a much faster rate GPUs, which frees up the CPU to do other tasks and allows for significantly faster loading times. It can also accelerate data streaming on the fly when the GPU needs access to an object or texture immediately. The latter is becoming especially important as games continue to increase graphical fidelity with higher and higher resolution textures and assets. With DirectStorage, GPUs can access higher-quality textures and assets from the internal storage drive at a much faster rate, which will help keep frame rates high and reduce stuttering.

diablo 4 direct storage

A good example of this tech operating in the real world is in the game Forespoken - which is the only title that supports DirectStorage at this time. According to a review by Digital Foundry, loading times in Forespoken are reduced by up to 25% with DirectStorage enabled on a Core i9-13900K paired to a 3.5GB/s NVMe SSD. But this is with a high-end CPU; with a much slower CPU, the gains can be far greater with DirectStorage. A Ryzen 5 3600 CPU with the same drive was also tested by Digital Foundry and was effectively twice as fast compared to DirectStorage being turned off. A load difference from 6.77 seconds to 11.73 seconds respectively.

Sadly, the game does not feature on-the-fly data decompression and only supports decompression when starting a new game or loading a save. But as previously mentioned, the benefits of both could be great in Diablo 4. The developers behind Diablo 4 have not said anything about DirectStorage support, so we don’t know how long it will take before DirectStorage is implemented into the game. But at least we know the feature is being worked on right now.