posted by Thom Holwerda on Sun 13th Apr 2008 16:29 UTC

"7, 6, 5."

7. Sun Ultra 20

Introduced in 2005, the Ultra 20 delivered an affordable AMD Opteron-based workstation to Sun's customers, who complained heavily about the much more expensive W2100z and W1100z AMD workstations Sun had released earlier. It cost only USD 895 during launch, which made it one of the cheapest Sun workstations you could buy.

The Sun Ultra 20 is one of only two tower configurations in this list, since I generally dislike tower configurations. Many will say that the Ultra 20's design was stolen from Apple's PowerMac G5, launched in 2003, and to a degree, they would have a point. However, to me, it feels as if Sun took a long hard look at the PowerMac G5 and added a lot of its own design elements (I see some definitive cues from the Ultra 10 in there) to form a distinctive and industrial looking device, more so than the PowerMac G5. I love the Ultra 20's angular and sharp design, and if I had the money, it would be my replacement of choice for my 6-year-old near-dying x86 desktop.

6. MacBook Air

Laptops are ugly. Yes, I am stating that as a fact. I have never seen a laptop that actually looked like something I would remember a few days later. They are too small to carry any memorable design features, and especially on the non-Apple side of things, they look less pleasurable than YouTube comments. Apple did not make the sexiest notebooks; they simply made the least pig-like notebooks. Which can hardly be called an achievement seeing the competition.

That is, until the MacBook Air came along. I was stunned. It was smaller than most other laptops, yet looked better than all of them; this was a laptop I would remember. Just for being by far the prettiest laptop out there, this machine deserves a mention. However, what gave it its 6th position is the fact that I owned one for a week. Its thinness and lightness are design features you can only appreciate by actually owning one.

5. IBM ps/2 model 50

The grand daddy of desktop computing. Big Blue's Personal System/2 would define a set of standards for more than a decade to come - the ps/2 mouse and keyboard interface, the VGA connector, the 1440kb 3.5-inch floppy disk format, the 72pin memory module, they would all become standard on PCs for years to come. Despite all this, most will not remember the ps/2 for its spectacular design, right?

Well, I sure do. My brother owned a ps/2 model 50 (my parents have it somewhere collecting dust in their attic), and I loved its built-like-a-brick design. It was heavy like a brick, looked like a brick, and felt like a brick. What stood out most to me, and what I remember most vividly from my childhood days of staring in awe at the ps/2, was the big, red, tumbler on/off switch. That, and the pencil sticking out of it to keep the memory modules in place.

Table of contents
  1. "10, 9, 8."
  2. "7, 6, 5."
  3. "4, 3, 2."
  4. "1."
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