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AMD and MS dig deep to free the freebies for 64-bit PC fans

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The good news for you hardware geeks out there is that AMD and Microsoft have found a few more cheap hardware/software kits to offer at their Tech Tour events. The bad news is that the kits will probably run out by the time you finish this story.

Earlier this month, we reported that AMD and Microsoft could not meet the demand of customers looking to pick up cheap PC and server bundles pitched by the companies. The bundles were used to lure system builders, resellers and hardware aficionados to Tech Tour events held across North America. Potential customers were expected to be more open to AMD and Microsoft's 64-bit computing pitch if they had cheap processors, motherboards and operating systems warming their laps.

But just as the Tech Tour reached city 4 on a 13 city romp, it ran out of systems.

Panic. Mayhem. Disappointment.

Those who ordered their systems well in advance of the show ended up getting their goods, but less ambitious types found they had to sit through the marketing extravaganza with no reward. Meanwhile, their peers had already left the gig and put their new Athlon or Opteron parts up on eBay.

Well, AMD says it worked hard to get some new gear. It won't offer up the Opteron server bundles anymore but will give you a look at the desktop bundle, which includes an Athlon64 chip, Asus motherboard and Microsoft Windows XP x64 Edition for the low, low price of $250. BUT YOU MUST ACT NOW, NOW, NOW! (Sadly, the PC bundle did in fact sell out again just three hours after this story appeared.)

"It is very apparent now that not everyone who wants one of these will get one," said Gary Bixler, AMD's senior manager of marketing. "This costs us money. We are doing it at a very aggressive cost."

AMD simply can't afford to seed the market as fully as the market would like to be seeded. And here you were thinking that AMD and Microsoft made a good living.

AMD, however, says it's a pure number thing that's causing the problem.

"Right now, at the half way point of the tour, we have 15,000 people who have registered," Bixler said. "Not all those attend, but we have 300 to 400 people at an event. That's outstanding and about double or triple what we had last year."

And so, cheap hardware does indeed make friends.

Register readers have a leg up on the less savvy IT types, since we got word of the new bundles first, so have at it while the supplies last. Sunnyvale, Seattle, Vancouver, Boston and East Brunswick, we're talking to you. ®

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