"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", stated Earl Joseph, Programme 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 13.0% 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.
Vendor highlights for second-quarter 2013 include: