As expected, worldwide factory revenue for the high performance computing (HPC) technical server market declined sharply to $2,5-billion in the third quarter of 2013 (3Q13), down from an exceptional $3,4-billion in the same period of 2012, according to the newly released International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide High-Performance Technical Server Qview.

“The third quarter results continued the trend IDC reported three months ago, when we noted that the top half of the HPC market, especially supercomputer systems sold for $500 000 and up, expanded rapidly right through the global economic recession and experienced record-setting growth in 2012,” says Earl Joseph, program vice-president for HPC.

“In 2012, several very large, one-time-only supercomputer sales drove that segment up by close to $1-billion. IDC did not expect the supercomputers segment to repeat that performance in 2013, although there will be other growth periods in the future.”

In the first three quarters of 2013, revenue growth has shifted toward sub-$250 000 systems as the lower half of the market continues to rebound strongly from the global economic recession. The brightest spot in 3Q13 was the Departmental segment for systems priced from $100 000 to $249 000. Revenue in this segment jumped 41,5% year-over-year to $966,3-million.

The Workstation segment, for HPC systems selling below $100 000, expanded by 37,2% year-over-year in the third quarter to $421-million. Together, the Workgroup and Departmental segments made up 53,8% of all HPC server systems revenue in the third quarter. IDC has corroborated the recovery trend in the lower half of the market by conducting several thousand survey calls with HPC buyers and end-users.

The high-end Supercomputers segment ($500 000 and up) accounted for 33,2% of the overall market in 3Q13, or $854,6-million, a sharp drop of 59,7% from the exceptionally strong figure of $2,1-billion in the third quarter of 2012. The Divisional segment ($250 000 to $499 000 price band) represented 13% of total HPC systems revenue, or $335,1-million, a 5,4 % increase over the third quarter of 2012.

Unit shipments of 31 792 in 3Q13 increased 29,8 % year-over-year and increased by 1,1% over the first quarter of 2013. The increases reflected the resurgence of the lower half of the market, where most HPC server shipments happen.

During the first three quarters of 2013, HPC technical server market revenues declined by modest -6,7%, with an increase of 26,3% in unit shipments, compared to the same period in 2012.

The high-end Supercomputers segment experienced a significant decline of -38,9% in the first three quarters of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012. Revenue for Workgroup HPC systems grew 35,8% compared to the first three quarters of 2012.

HP and IBM remained in close contention for worldwide market leadership by capturing 32,7% and 29,5% of overall revenue share, respectively. Dell maintained its strong third-place position with 15,2% of global revenue.

The IDC Worldwide High-Performance Technical Server QView presents the HPC market from various perspectives, including by competitive segment, vendor, cluster versus non-cluster, geography, and operating system. It also contains detailed revenue and shipment information by HPC models.