Local builders poised for tilt at Intel prize

Local builders poised for tilt at Intel prize

Despite a lack of communication from Intel, local whitebox builders are generally excited by a $1 million bounty the chipmaker has put on the design of a small and stylish media centre PC.

Announced at this week's Intel Developer Forum in the US, the worldwide competition is looking for somebody to build a model that looks at home in the lounge. It must be based on Intel's Viiv technology and Core 2 Duo processor.

"We talk to Intel every couple of days but haven't heard anything yet," Plus Corporation managing director, Nigel Fernandes, said. "We'd be keen to give it a go if we're included."

Fernandes said Viiv had been a quiet technology to date but predicted the competition might enliven the market.

Westan executive director, Kamil Aghtan, and Altech national sales manager, Kevin Hartin, told similar stories.

"We haven't heard anything locally, but we'll definitely be entering something," Aghtan said. "This is still a fairly immature market but the low heat output of Core 2 Duo will see form factors getting smaller and smaller."

Despite emailing Intel as competition news filtered out of the US, Altech has yet to hear anything back.

"We'll sit down and evaluate our options as soon as we hear something," Hartin said.

Intel will judge entries on style, acoustics, functionality and features. The winning entry will receive $US300,000 for mass production of the system and $US400,000 to fund co-marketing activities.

A second prize of $US300,000 will support the production of another system.

One local builder not interested in taking part, despite a passion for the media centre concept in general, is Alloys International product development manager, Phil Gibbs.

"There's no point playing unless you've got the money to develop a very small and special case," he said. "Who's going to spend the R&D to build a new case locally? We all know how this will have to look and there's a couple of boxes already around that you could use, but how many other people are going to do that?"

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