The next step in next-gen comes with the announcement of the NVIDIA RTX IO. During the RTX 30 Series unveil event today, NVIDIA laid out its plans for further optimization rather than just focusing on raw power. NVIDIA’s RTX IO enables DirectStorage for Windows and offers streaming from SSD directly to the GPU memory.
This comes as a result of a collaboration between NVIDIA and Microsoft. Such technological developments should improve throughput for streaming assets in next-gen games.
RTX IO: The Big Differentiator
Moreover, this opens up greater possibilities for how next-gen technology will work on a PC. Furthermore, the Turing offers more than 2.6 times the RT performance of the strongest console GPU, which is the Xbox Series X. This has made it clear that Raytracing is going to make a big difference on PC.
The next focus for the RTX IO should be on decompression acceleration. The kind that next-gen consoles happen to have. Moreover, the RTX IO should also focus on the closeness of the NVMe to VRAM. The same way it is in consoles. NV can rely on the GPU to execute that sort of decompression. The same way XSX or PS5 relies on decompression blocks.
NVMe devices are extremely high bandwidth SSD based devices. Moreover, they also come fitted with hardware data access pipes. These are known as NVMe queues. They’re specifically designed for gaming workloads. If one wishes to get data off the drive, the OS submits a request to the drive after which the data is delivered to the app through these queues.
Furthermore, the NVMe device can have multiple queues and each queue can hold multiple requests at a time. This is a great feature when one takes into account the parallel and batched style of today’s gaming workloads. Additionally, the programming model of DirectStorage allows developers to have direct control over that highly optimized hardware.
DirectStorage handling the Extra Steps
In addition, the APIs that already exist in storage incurs a lot of ‘extra steps’. When the application is making an IO request and the request is being completed by the storage device, it results in an irrelevant request overhead.
Extra steps can include things such as data transformations needed during certain intervals of normal IO operation. Nonetheless, such steps aren’t a necessity for every IO request on every NVMe drive on every gaming machine.
In fact, with a properly configured gaming machine and a compatible NVMe drive, DirectStorage at once be able to identify the extra steps. The extra steps that are not required will be skipped. This will result in each IO request becoming less expensive to complete.
Thus, if one plans to familiarize themselves with DirectStorage then NVMe is a reasonable choice. The storage technology does appear to be rather sturdy for ultra-performance next-gen gaming IO. However, whether or not it stands the test of time is yet to be seen.
The Future Plans for DirectStorage
Whenever a member of the DirectX family is featured, Microsoft gathers the best of the best to smoothen out the development-launch process. The top PC gamers are flown in to standardize the upcoming gaming features. After which they’re then made available to game developers for further improvement. Finally, once all the tweaks have been worked out they are released to the public.
For DirectStorage, this process has already been initiated. Moreover, even the API’s design is in its final stages. A development preview of DirectStorage is being planned to get it into the hands of game developers by next year.