Right about now, Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) has to be wondering: "Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), was it something we said?"

If Dell actually gives voice to the question, though, I expect Intel would confide, "Nah. It was something you did -- building boring computers. But it's not just you. Gateway (NYSE:GTW), Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ), and Lenovo pretty much bore users to tears, too."

Recognizing that the EBA ("Everybody But Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)") computer makers have gotten stuck in a decades-long rut of churning out plain beige, or occasionally grey, boxes as their primary form of desktop computing power, Intel CEO Paul Otellini announced a new contest on Tuesday. Intel will pay some lucky computer-maker $1 million to design a desktop computer with a modicum more style than the floor protectors sitting under our desks.

Specifically, Intel is looking for someone who can incorporate its new Core2 Duo processors into a "Viiv technology-based ... small, stylish" PC -- so basically, it is looking for an EBA iMac. As for how the prize will be awarded, it is described in typically obfuscated engineer-speak. The "grand prize winner" gets $300,000 to use toward manufacturing costs, and $400,000 to use in co-marketing the computer with Intel. The "first place winner" -- which may or may not be the same thing as the "grand prize winner" -- gets the remaining $300,000 to use toward manufacturing costs.

Now, before you get all excited and start drawing up plans, be aware that only "companies" can play in this game. Presumably, the prize will look pretty penny-ante to giants such as those described above. But they might decide to enter just for the bragging rights victory would confer. As for the loser, my guess is that it will be AMD (NYSE:AMD). Both the language used in the contest announcement and the fact that 40% of the "prize" is to be used in marketing the fact that the winning design has "Intel Inside" suggest that this is first and foremost a marketing ploy by Intel, aiming to generate buzz for its new product at the expense of AMD's competing offerings.

That said, as a computer user, I can only hope Intel gets some good bites with its offer. As Apple has proven time and time again, there's no reason on earth why a PC must resemble a big tin box. Style and performance need not be mutually exclusive properties. In short, we EBA users have suffered under the Beige Regime for far too long, and it's time for a change.

What do Fools have to say about AMD and Intel? Tim Beyers tallies the scorecard in "Fool Fight: AMD vs. Intel."

Intel is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. See which other companies made the cut by taking a 30-day free trial of the service.

Fool contributor Rich Smith owns shares of both Dell and Intel. The Fool's disclosure policy is anything but boring.