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Get Ubisoft's open-world racing game The Crew for free!

From the Cheapskate: Normally $30, this "action-driving MMO" requires a decent amount of PC horsepower. Don't have it? I've got three bonus deals for you to consider instead.

CNET's Cheapskate scours the Web for great deals on PCs, phones, gadgets and much more. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page. And find more great buys on the CNET Deals page.


Game time!

I used to be pretty heavy into PC gaming. My favorites: most of the Command & Conquer games and anything involving arcade-style driving. (Oh, Interstate '76, I miss you so.)

That's why I'm excited about today's deal. For a limited time, as part of its 30th-anniversary celebration, Ubisoft is offering The Crew (Win) for free. Current price on Steam: $29.99.

To take advantage of the freebie, you need a Uplay account -- also free -- and the Uplay PC client software.

The Crew is an "action-driving MMO," according to the developer, an open-world racing game that can be enjoyed single-player or shared with, well, a crew. Here's a more detailed summary from GameSpot's review of the PS4 version:

"You can team up with a group of friends for an epic road trip filled with fast-paced illegal activities, and seamlessly explore a massive map of the U.S., from the tip of Maine, all the way down to Miami, over to Los Angeles and back again, passing through other iconic cities along the way.

"[But] despite the game's title and pitch, The Crew is a single-player experience tucked into a multiplayer server. It starts with a story that casts you on a grand mission, and you're constantly encouraged by your cohorts to head to the next step along the way."

Sounds pretty sweet to me, but that review and the overall review average aggregated by Metacritic suggest a game that's merely OK, not great. The graphics, game physics and AI all have issues, according to GameSpot.

On the plus side, however, you get to engage in some fun missions and explore a massive map. In my humble opinion, open-world driving is infinitely more fun than being stuck on a racetrack. (Oh, Midtown Madness, I miss you so.)

Also, did I mention this is free? So you've got nothing to lose by taking The Crew for a spin. Just take note of the recommended system requirements, which are a bit on the steep side. They include 8GB of RAM and a GeForce GTX 580 or better.

I realize not everyone is into racing, so I've rounded up three substantial bonus deals. Read on!


Bonus deal: If you're unlucky enough to be saddled with a 16GB iOS device, read my guide to surviving an iPhone with only 16GB of storage. One of the recommendations: external expansion. And here's a plug-and-play option: Amazon has the SanDisk iXpand 32GB Lightning USB flash drive for $39.99, shipped free for Prime subscribers. Regular price: $59.99.

The iXpand has a Lightning connector at one end and USB 3.0 at the other, making it easy to swap between iDevice and PC. With it you can offload space-hogging photos and videos from your iPhone or iPad, and/or access a big media library copied to the drive from your PC. I like the wraparound design and favorable reviews from Amazon buyers.

Bonus deal 2: Chromebook deals are getting insane! By which I mean insanely good.

For a limited time, and while supplies last, Groupon has the refurbished Acer Chromebook CB3-531 15.6-inch laptop for $109.99 shipped. Typically when you see a Chromebook at this price, it's a much smaller model. Granted, the relatively low resolution isn't ideal for such a relatively large screen, but depending on your usage, it shouldn't be a problem.

And check out the user ratings: 4.3 stars (out of 5) from nearly a thousand buyers. This is an incredible amount of bang for your computing buck. Thanks to reader Mark for bringing it to my attention!

Bonus deal 3: Do you like sci-fi? Aw, I knew you were awesome. If you also like to read sci-fi, look no further than StoryBundle's Extreme Sci-Fi Bundle, which lets you name your own price for five ebooks or pay at least $15 for 10 of them. Included in that first batch is a brand-new novel from noted sci-fi novelist Dean Wesley Smith. It would cost you $5.99 all by itself if you bought it from Amazon.

The books are all DRM-free, and you can opt to give a portion of your payment to a charity. Huge win all around.