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Microsoft giving away free Xbox One to students buying Surface PCs

Buy a Surface Pro 4 or Surface Book, get an Xbox One for free -- if you're a student, parent or teacher.

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Planning to go back to school with a premium PC in your messenger bag? Or perhaps put one in your kid's backpack? If you buy that computer from Microsoft, the company will throw in an Xbox One game console, free of charge.

Through August 14, any student, parent or teacher in the US and Canada who purchases a Surface Pro 4 tablet or Surface Book laptop and an Xbox One game console from the online Microsoft Store can get $300 off the purchase price -- enough to entirely cover the price of the game console. (The parent must be purchasing for student use.) And since that console also includes two free games, a free extra Xbox One wireless controller and a $50 gift code, it's a heck of a deal.

Mind you, Microsoft's Surface computers aren't particularly cheap. You'll be paying a minimum of $878 before tax and shipping for the lowest-end Surface Pro 4 with its relatively weak Intel Core m3 processor, and that won't even come with the $130 keyboard cover you need to turn it into a full PC.

The math may look weird, but the savings are there.

Screenshot by Sean Hollister/CNET

Some other caveats:

Microsoft really, really wants to make the Xbox One a success, and it's willing to sacrifice some dollars to make that happen. We've seen two "temporary" price cuts in the past month alone, bringing what was once a $499 game console down to a regular price of $279 today.

Microsoft also may be feeling the need to clear out stock of the existing Xbox One and its game pad before the new and improved Xbox One S arrives this August.

Still, it's not a bad time to buy even a current Xbox One. Some excellent new games were announced at E3 earlier in June, and they'll all run on the current console. You'll be able to buy some of those games once for Xbox and get a second copy for Windows 10 PCs as well.