This article is from the The Terminator FAQ, by Karsten A. Loepelmann firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
The systems used were Silicon Graphics IRIS 4D/340VGX RISC-processor
workstations. The software used was Alias Studio 3.0 and Pixar's Renderman
from ILM. The computer graphics were used, among other things, for the
morphing/liquid metal FX, and for putting the pilot's reflection on the
in the helicopter.
According to Van Ling, Mac Quadras were used for some CGI work:
4-Ward Productions, who did the nuclear nightmare sequence, brought in
Electric Image to model the Los Angeles skyline and blow it into particles.
In fact, the good folks at EI developed their Mr. Nitro plug-in (now part
of their standard package) for the film.