Computer manufacturers have been doing this for years. I bought a HP Pavilion 8750C back in 2000. The thing would run fine for a couple weeks, and then freeze 10 times in a single afternoon. It drove me nuts... I tried replacing half the hardware, upgrading drivers, bois, etc - no help. I tried doing a clean install of Windows numerous times - 98, 2000, XP, even ME - same problem. Tried disabling the on-board video crap and installing a separate Video Card. Still nothing.
In 2003 I couldn't take it anymore, and built a replacement machine. About that time I ran across a thread on a forum like this one. Turns out many of the 8750C's had a motherboard that was compatible with Intel Celeron processors. My HP had shipped with a regular P3. So I picked up a cheap Celeron processor, dropped it in, gave the machine to my brother and it never had another problem.
HP must have shipped thousands of PC's with processors that were incompatible with the motherboards. I haven't bought anything from HP since, and doubt I ever will. I still can't believe there wasn't a class action lawsuit for that sort of thing.
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