At work in my office in 1996, doing 3D animation (painstaking!!) on a 19,500 dollar¹ Silicon Graphics Indy workstation.
Software was another 5,000 bucks. Rendering one SD (video-) frame (2 fields) took at least half an hour. A 30 second animation took a fortnight to render. So, you needed computing power, and thus another 2,500 for an extra “math processor board”. That brought render time down to slightly less than a week.
You’ll now find more processingpower in an iPhone 4…
In twenty years we’ll be laughing again, about what we do now and how much money we we’re willing to invest in technology that will be rendered obsolete in a few years from now. It hurts, but alas, that’s the way of progress.
More about this 100mhz, 32MB museum-piece: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SGI_Indy
(¹ price in the Netherlands in 1996, approx. twice the US price plus shipment and taxes)