"Workstation"-class machines have long been available in today's conventional desktop form-factor, but have also been available in a rack-mountable form-factor, for installation into a server-rack in another room in the building - or in a "deskside" cabinet.
Going right back to the early 1980s, when CAD systems would run on systems like the Data General Eclipse, which would necessarily have to be in another room, this meant there would have to be some connection from the user's desktop to the computer next-door - but also through the 1990s and early-2000s with the SGI Onyx and Tezro respectively.
(Tangentially, I'm wondering why they're even called "Workstations" if they live in a rack: usually it's only headless servers that can really be accommodated in a rack; while SGI did have other rack-mountable machines specifically called "Servers" and not Workstations, so is there anything to the naming convention? In my head the term "Workstation" implies it's being used for real-time interactive use by a single user, whereas some of the documentation for the rack-mount Onyx implies it might be used in a TV production situation, generating graphics in real-time directly for broadcast driven by automated software instead of someone interactively using CAD/CFD/3D software).
So assuming this rather beefy hardware is running in a rack on the other-side of a wall, how are the end-user's mice, monitor, and keyboard, and any other peripherals (e.g. CAD digitizer), supposed to be attached?
...in the case of D-Sub VGA, I understand the maximum cable length is on the order of 150 feet, but given these computers' displays would be running very high resolutions, sometimes even by today's standards, certainly not capable of being transported by an early-1990s VGA cable, so how would they have been connected over, say, a 75-foot distance? In SGI's case they had their DB13W3 connector and cables but I can't find any information about its maximum-length, and Wikipedia says that D-Sub VGA and DVI effectively replaced it anyway, but DVI has a very short maximum cable length (~5m, I understand) - so if DB13W3 did support cables long enough to stretch between rooms it seems odd that it would be replaced with an interconnect that couldn't.
Mice and keyboards also pose a challenge: even if USB existed back then the USB 1.x specification sets a maximum length of 3m - you can workaround this using powered repeaters/hubs but that still wouldn't get you beyond ~15m, and bulky hubs wouldn't work with tight conduits between rooms - not to mention hub propagation latency making mice awkward to use. As for PS/2, I couldn't find any authoritative info on maximum cable-length.
So imagine it's 1992 and you work at Pixar and you've got a flashy new rack-mount SGI in the HVAC'd room next-door - how does your mouse and keyboard, and (multiple?) monitors connect to the box?
And if you've got a CD full of art assets you want to load-up, do you have a desk-top SCSI drive with a cable snaking its way next-door - or would you need to physically walk to the rack-mount box and pop the CD in that way? If there's dozens - or more - of people with similar workstations how do the IT people manage having to route all those (presumably very thick) cables?