I have built quite a few computers in my day (back when I walked to work, up hill, both ways) but I have never done a computer for a case like this. The goal of this PC is to sit next to a flat screen tv and act as a media center and gaming PC. I know video cards are usually huge but I am trying to build the best PC I can with the size limitations.
My question is this: What are the "Good", "Better", and "Best" options for a CPU, motherboard, and video card in this thing? I am trying to keep it within a modest budget, but if it can run Skyrim, I will be ecstatic.
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I'd go for an AMD A8 3850 and 4GB RAM on a mATX board. That would be cheap and would run on 300W easily. Should be able to play Skyrim on low-medium settings/resolution too, doesn't seem much more demanding than Oblivion was to be honest.
The good thing about that chip too is that you can add a cheap low profile GPU and run it in dual graphics mode. This should give you just about the best performance you are realistically going to find in a low profile card.