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Meet the winners of Intel's PC design competition

The winner is pretty neat, but the runner-up looks pretty 1986 to me.

Intel announced today the winners of its Intel Core Processor Challenge, a competition with a total of $1 million in prize money that encouraged computer manufacturers to use its Viiv processor technology to create a high-performance, media-savvy machine. The winners, well, aren't particularly earth-shattering.

You do have to keep in mind that these are legitimate working PCs, not trippy concept designs created under the influence of what-have-you. So when Intel talks about the "best mix of style, acoustics, functionality and features for digital home entertainment," you have to take that with a grain of (pragmatic) salt.

The winner, from Korean company TriGem Intel

The winner, the Lluon "Black Crystal" home theater PC from Korean manufacturer TriGear, is actually pretty sweet-looking. It's very much a living room machine, commanded by a remote control that resembles a cell phone, with a sleek black box and speakers that look like they'd get along just fine with your luxe HDTV. (And it's shiny. Look close enough at that picture and you can see the reflection of the photographer with the camera.)

The runner-up from Mesirio Intel

The runner-up, however, leaves something to be desired. It's called the "Asono Merium," created by Norwegian company Mesiro, and it looks kind of Tron-esque to me. I mean, yes, the '80s are cool, but not that cool. Unfortunately, the photo provided wasn't particularly revealing, so maybe there's something awesome about the Asono Merium that I'm missing. Or not.

According to a release from Intel, the winners of the design and functionality competition were effectively "saying goodbye to the traditional big, beige box." Big, beige box? What is this, 1995? We've seen ball-shaped desktops, sleek all-in-ones, video editing workstations souped up with Blu-ray, and not to mention those sexy, sexy machines that a little company called "Apple" likes to manufacture. Just FYI, Intel, we're way past the big, beige box. Way past it.