AMD has officially announced a new storage technology today at Computex 2022 today, called Smart Access Storage (SAS). The goal of SAS is to reduce game loading times on AMD hardware by accelerating texture streaming and acceleration data decompression, with the help of Microsoft’s DirectStorage API and AMD’s own Smart Access Memory technology. Info given about SAS was incredibly brief, but AMD does promise to share more details about the technology in the coming months.
We originally reported on Smart Access Memory a few weeks ago. However, at the time we knew nothing about the technology aside from the name itself. Computex 2022 is the first time AMD has officially announced the new storage accelerating tech, but details are still extremely scarce.
The company only divulged a few seconds of its presentation of the new technology. So any in-depth details about its inner workings are still unknown. Nonetheless, we now know Smart Access Storage is a game-centric storage feature designed to improve loading times, with help from Microsoft’s DirectStorage API.
We still have many questions about Smart Access Storage, particularly about its implementation. Since AMD is using Microsoft’s DirectStorage API to build the feature, it remains to be seen whether AMD is simply building a duplicate version of DirectStorage under its own name (similar to Smart Access Memory), or if it will have its own set of features users won't get from DirectStorage natively.
If you are unaware of Microsoft's DirectStorage API, it is a gaming-focused storage solution that reduces game loading times in Windows 10 and Windows 11--as AMD is touting with its SAS solution. To achieve this goal, DirectStorage effectively bypasses the CPU in the game loading process to ensure SSD bandwidth can be used to the highest potential and isn’t bottlenecked by the processor.
Game assets and textures are transferred directly from the SSD to the GPU’s frame buffer, with the GPU handling game data decompression instead of the CPU. This results in significantly reduced CPU utilization and increased SSD bandwidth utilization, allowing assets to be transferred and processed much more efficiently.
We don’t know how AMD plans on improving this process with Smart Access Storage. But we will likely know more in the coming months, as AMD has promised.