The extent of the collapse in High Performance Computing has been laid bare after IDC numbers revealed global shipments fell 40% last year as revenues slid 11.6% to $8.6bn.
Systems worth more than $500,000 grew 25% to $3.4bn while the top bracket machines priced $3m and above grew 65% to $1bn. HPC sold at $100,000 and below sank 33% to $1.7bn.
The good news is that HPC is forecast to rebound in 2010 as the global economy moves into a recovery position, with growth of 5% to 7% expected.
"IDC expects the HPC technical server market to begin recovering from the impact of the global economic recession in early 2010," said Earl Joseph, programme vice president for HPC.
However, just as the segments were impacted to different degrees, the recovery will also be patchy.
"Many firms have been so battered that they will maintain capex restrictions even in mission critical areas such as HPC," said Joseph.
In certain verticals though, including government, universities and some entertainment and consumer product firms, HPC is so entrenched and growth plans are already in place, said IDC.
Apart from Cray, market leader IBM, HP, Dell and Sun all saw HPC revenues decline in 2009 though Big Blue's fall was in the single digit range unlike its rivals.