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External Packaging and Mounting
CD-ROM drives were developed after the drive bays in the PC were standardized, and are designed to fit into a standard 5.25" drive bay. The height of a CD-ROM drive is about 1.75", the height of a standard "half-height" drive bay.
Most newer drives have sheet metal enclosures that surround the drive itself. There are screw holes tapped into the sides of the drive to allow for simple mounting directly into a standard drive bay on a modern case. Some older PCs require the use of mounting rails that are screwed into the drive, and then slide into the drive bay.
CD-ROM drives that use a tray loading mechanism must be mounted horizontally; if mounted vertically the CD can fall right out of the drive. Caddy-based drives can technically be mounted horizontally or vertically, although it is generally better to mount them horizontally (I've never seen an internal CD-ROM mounted sideways.)
Next: Compact Disk Media