If you suffered through a first-generation Pentium 4 processor, you may be entitled to $15 from a class-action settlement. The associated suit alleges that Intel and HP conspired to cook benchmark results to artificially inflate the Pentium 4's performance versus the Pentium III and the original Athlon. Although neither company is admitting guilt as part of the deal—both deny "each and every allegation"—they are coughing up a token gesture.
The full complaint can be found here (PDF). It alleges that Intel "secretly wrote" WebMark 2001 and "revised" SysMark 2001, two benchmarks produced by BAPCo, a supposedly independent company over which the chip giant had "almost complete control." Intel is also accused of lobbying publications to use the tainted tests, paying software companies for "focused code optimizations," sabotaging the Pentium III's performance, and pairing the P4 with faster memory in head-to-head testing. "Hewlett-Packard knew what Intel was up to and helped to make sure that Intel's plan was successful," it claims.
According to the official settlement page, the following folks are eligible for compensation:
All residents of the United States, other than those residing in Illinois, who (i) purchased a new computer equipped with a Pentium 4 processor, (ii) purchased the computer between November 20, 2000 and December 31, 2001, and (iii) purchased the computer for personal, family, or household use;
All residents of the United States, other than those residing in Illinois, who (i) purchased a new computer equipped with a first-generation (Willamette) Pentium 4 processor or a Pentium 4 processor at speeds below 2.0 GHz, (ii) purchased the computer between January 1, 2002 and June 30, 2002, and (iii) purchased the computer for personal, family, or household use.
Proof of purchase isn't necessary, but anyone who gets in on the settlement is "required to sign the claim form under penalty of perjury that to the best of their recollection they are a Class Member." Submissions are due by April 14, 2015. Those who meet the criteria but disagree with the settlement have until December 15 to formally object with the court or exclude themselves from the deal. More details are available in the settlement FAQ. Thanks to Konstantin Lanzet for the image.