Digital Foundry recently sneak a peek With Nvidia’s new RTX IO GPU decompression technology Portal: Prelude RTX, found that this technology can significantly improve game load times on modern SSD hardware. This game review outlet found that Nvidia’s new storage-enhancing tech cut load times in half, significantly reducing latency for both game levels and in-game high-res textures.
RTX IOs is a new way of uploading game information to the graphics card, resulting in faster game load times and reduced CPU usage. With RTX IO GPU decompression, instead of transferring data to the CPU for decompression, all game assets are transferred from storage to the GPU, where the GPU core decompresses the data at a significantly faster pace.
RTX IO is a term coined by Nvidia to group several technologies for GPU-based loading and asset decompression. In fact, RTX IO is based on GDeflate, an open-source compression format created by Nvidia supported by Microsoft’s DirectStorage API, and Vulkan with two new Nvidia Vulkan extensions. As a result, you don’t necessarily need an Nvidia GPU to run RTX IO. All you need is a GPU that supports DirectStorage or running Nvidia’s new Vulkan extension.
In testing, Digital Foundry found that RTX IO can improve load time performance by about 50%. Portal: Prelude RTX. Testing was done on a Core i9-12900K and RTX 4090, with games stored on a 500MB/s SATA 3 SSD. With RTX IO disabled (with a special test build of the game) the game was able to load in 2.36 seconds. But with RTX IO turned on, the game was able to load everything, including test chambers and high-res textures, in just 1.16 seconds.
In further testing with Gen 3 NVMe SSDs, review outlets found that RTX IO was able to improve load time performance by another 90ms over what SATA 3 drives were able to achieve. Additionally, RTX IO can also turbocharge SATA 3 drives, making slow SSDs faster than NVMe drives with RTX IO enabled (RTX IO disabled on NVMe drives).
A load time of under 3 seconds is fast enough for any video game from a benchmark standpoint. An additional 1 second reduction in load time is very impressive and shows well the capabilities of RTX IO. It also improves the capabilities of any storage drive, regardless of whether the system has the best of his SSDs.
This is just the beginning of what you can expect from RTX IO GPU decompression. Portal: Prelude RTX is a mod of a mod based on a game made 15 years ago, so unless you really want sub-3 second load times, there’s no real benefit to having RTX IO on board. Ratchet and Clank: Lift Apart When it releases next week, it will be the first game to test RTX IO in the wild, and we expect to see substantially more tangible results with RTX IO with inter-dimensional gameplay that requires instant asset streaming.