As long as you don't insist on strange hardware configs, or running 3rd generation Graphics cards on 6th generation software.
I think the only thing you really need to do to be safe is make sure the chipset is an intel. I made the mistake of buying a VIA chipset motherboard once, conflicted with so much hardware that I'll only ever buy Intel chipset boards.
Actually, I think that Microsoft (or SOMEBODY) needs to come up with a games specific OS, so for example you have your Windows XP partition, and the GamesOS partition. That would pretty much solve it - of course you would still get people running ATI cards on AMD cpu's with a generic soundchip on VIA chipsetted motherboards. you get what you pay for.