So, when I first went to school, the school made a requirement: Win2k. Not bad, and a local store offered offered a nice deal for one with a Pentium 3, CD burner, and GeForce 400 (or equivalent which will come back to bite everyone in the ass). They provided, instead, a AMD Athlon Slot A with a passive heatsink, ZIP drive, CD-ROM drive, and Matrox G400 which was not supported in Win2k, just 98 and later 2003. So, despite me pointing this out as it continued to fail while playing video games, and the shop ignoring me and replacing a working Matrox for another working Matrox that still had unusable drivers, they eventually started trying to "fix" the problem by finding other things.
Eventually, the shop replaced the motherboard. At some point after that, the HD decided that the MBR did not exist any more. Attempting to boot resulted in nothing, but booting a live CD of Linux (someone else burned me a CD? it's been a while) would show that the drive still worked. So they added a drive so I could back things up and replaced the mobo again. Then, the computer started to really misbehave; as if crashing in every DirectX game wasn't weird enough. I wasn't a hardware geek then, so I failed to notice that the PSU was way under-spec for the system as it started (1 HDD, 3.5, ZIP drive) and after the replacements they gave me (extra HDD and a CD burner) it was really stretched. Everything would brown out a random points.
And that's where it got strange. As a note, I didn't have pets (what 1 room apartment can survive a pet?) and didn't smoke. One vacation, it was sitting in my bedroom at my parents. Plugged in, but turned off. It had been annoying me, I had borrowed a friend's game at the last LAN party to play while they focused on Smash Bros or GoldenEye or Magic games. Anyways, I walked past my bedroom at home one day, and heard a strange noise from the supposedly off computer. Windows was "shut down", not sleep/standby. Suddenly, POP, then a short burst or flame, and lots of smoke. Thankfully, the fuse for that circuit blew; or the GFCI did. Of course, the small shop swore up and down that that couldn't have happened. Did they replace everything? HELL NO, they swapped in a new PSU and refused to pay attention to lemon laws. I went about being a college student, and when I changed computers a not long later (2 years of bad behavior, and 2 years is a long time in the CompSci world) this box kept it's nickname of "The Hell Box" (I think it blew a breaker at a LAN party, too) and stayed in a closet.
Years later, when I finally got around to cleaning out my closet at my parent's, I took this old machine to practice parts salvaging. "De-soldering" components, saving any passive stuff like VGA sockets. The CPU? It was one of the first pieces used to "calibrate" my home-made reflow oven and paint scraper method of removing components. Since it worked, I think I left the actual CPU die sitting in the bottom of the oven while I messed with the rest of it. I would have snuck the slot circuit board into a wood chipper or against a grinder if it weren't for fiber glass and lungs. The HDDs were salvaged for the magnets and the pretty glass, the CD and 3.5" for motors (those strangely still work!), and the rest of was destroyed with great glee and then sent to electronics recycling as bags of components and a few circuit boards.