Essentially the order of operations will turn out like this - when a machine sends up a property package to ePO, ePO will first check the GUID attached to the property package. If there is a match, we're done. If there is no match, it'll check MAC address - same deal as before and if it matches, the inbound properties will be associated with the matching MAC address node.
If neither of these can match, we'll check for machines matching the computer name - however, in this case, that is only for "unmanaged" nodes matching the system name in the tree. For example: System name: EXAMPLE
When EXAMPLE communicates to ePO, with a new GUID and unique MAC address it will be unable to match to any existing system in your database based on those two criteria - then, it will check for any unmanaged entries (for example, added manually or via an AD sync) also named EXAMPLE. If it finds one, it'll match up with that unmanaged EXAMPLE system, essentially turning that previously unmanaged node into a managed node as far as ePO is concerned.
Now, if instead of finding an unmanaged system named EXAMPLE it finds a managed system named EXAMPLE (with a different GUID and MAC address associated off course) it would not match to this system and instead create a new entry, also named EXAMPLE, but with the new GUID/MAC address. This is designed as such to help out a bit in case the environment has machines with the same name throughout the environment (which isn't as uncommon as you'd think).
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An example of what ‘msmiley’ mentions would look something like the below.
I'd ask that you simply look, at one of the clients that are seen to be 'duplicated' Access the Registry and look for entries similar to the below (The below an example, your version detail etc would different):
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