Early computers were bland beige boxes — meant to blend in with whatever workspace they were placed on. But during the golden age of the super-powerful workstation, designers got wild with form factors and materials that oozed with confidence and no small amount of sass. In some ways, the new Mac Pro returns to that era — and here’s a speculative rendering to prove it.
With this image, designer Martin Hajek draws a literal comparison between the Mac Pro and three supercomputers of yore. On the left, we have Mac Pro rendered as a SGI Fuel, a machine that sold for almost $US12,000 in 2005. In the middle, the darling of the science world — a 1994 Sun SparcStation 5, whose pizza-box chassis made it a stand-out at the time. On the right? That’s a Mac Pro dressed up as a SGI Octane, one of the first workstations that boasted a colourful, curving shell.
It’s a fun comparison — and while it’s entirely speculative, it’s interesting to frame the new Mac Pro as a return to sculptural, iconic form factors of the 1990s and early ’00s. For the past few years, we’ve seen Apple’s workstations grow more and more powerful, while their designs grew more and more sparse and minimal. Mac Pro is a fantastic departure from that — it literally gleams with confidence and machismo.
The SGI Fuel.
Sun SparcStation 5.