'Extreme high definition' the focus of Nvidia's new high-end mobile GPU

Santa Clara (CA) - In a way, it was the cat that Dell let out of Nvidia's bag, as word came from Dell early this morning of a new, top-of-the-line XPS notebook with a GPU that wasn't officially on the books. Now, Nvidia is echoing the call that resounded from Round Rock this morning, with news of the GeForce Go 7900 GTX, which the company is touting as enabling "extreme high definition" (XHD) for the next generation of notebook displays.

According to statistics released by Nvidia this morning, the mobile 7900 GTX raises memory bandwidth to 38.4 Gbps, an increase of about 9% over yesterday's top-of-the-line 7800 GTX. Fill rate improves from 9.6 billion pixels per second to an astounding 12 billion, and vertices plotted per second rises from 800 million to 1 billion.

Whenever we start transcending powers of 10, it becomes time to do some in-depth introspection. Our Barry Gerber at MobilityGuru is testing the new Dell XPS M1710, which premieres the mobile 7900 GTX. This morning, Barry has preliminary statistics on the new GPU, with a detailed comparison to other units in the product line.

Aside from statistics, perhaps the highlight of this morning's announcement is the push toward driving 1920 x 1200 resolution from notebook displays. This hasn't always been an easy feat, as the first models from some manufacturers have managed to push the size factor up past what some retailers might refuse to compare to a real notebook. But as Barry's first test of the M1710 shows, size was not a problem for Dell, as that company managed to squeeze what Nvidia is calling "XHD" resolution (great, another tier of resolution!) into a nominally sized form factor.

This morning's announcement from Nvidia lists not only Dell but Toshiba as manufacturers gearing to premiere the 7900 GTX. There's no word from Toshiba just yet, although just last week, it premiered its latest Qosmio notebook PC with what's touited as the first built-in HD DVD drive, and a GeForce Go 7600 driving the graphics. Very conceivably, Toshiba could be readying a Qosmio model with not only the 7900 GTX, but with W-UXGA display and XHD.

While Dell credits the new GPU, among other factors, as pushing the performance of its new high-end notebook up by 35%, you can also expect the prices of high-end notebooks to be pushed up as well, with prices for the M1710 starting at $2,600 and climbing from there.