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With every new release of the Cadence IC Package design software, many new features requested by designers are added. In other cases, interesting concepts that R&D engineers think up also make it into this list, so that real designers can try them out and suggest how they might work in a complex design flow to save time and energy.
Some ideas are straightforward and go into the core tool immediately, while with others there may be a need to gain additional feedback from the design community before the exact look and feel is finalized. Because of this, some features first appear as public beta features. These features, though fully supported by Cadence, are provided in a manner designed specifically to encourage designers to provide their thoughts on how the feature can be improved.
To learn where to find these exciting new functions and features, read on! And you never know..the next release could see one of your own suggestions added to the list (or integrated as a new command or addition to an existing command as part of the base tool) for the benefit of all users!
In the Cadence APD and SiP tools, beta features are enabled through the User Preferences command. They are consolidated into two key areas.
First, there are beta tools found in the main "Unsupported" root folder. These betas represent general command improvements available to all package and board designers who use APD, SiP, or the Allegro PCB layout design tools.
Second, there are the betas which are specifically targeted at package designers. These are located in an "Early Adopter" subfolder under the IC Packaging main folder, as shown below:
To enable a specific beta, place a checkmark in the "value" box beside the variable's name. You can get a detailed description of how the beta works and how you access it by positioning your cursor over the variable name and reading the summary description at the bottom of the window. In some cases, you may need to restart the tool in order for a new entry to appear in your menus or for the command to otherwise become active.
Don't miss that "Next" button in the lower-right corner of the variables list (shown highlighted with red in the image above). It's important! With the number of great ideas coming from all directions, this list of beta features can get quite long -- extending onto multiple pages. You'll need to press that button (maybe even a few times!) to see all the ideas that have been turned into real capabilities in the tool for you to try out. Make sure to try them all!
Give us your impressions on the features. Which commands do you use the most and want to see made part of the next base product release? Is there a beta feature that you've come to be unable to do without in your standard flow? Your thoughts are extremely important as upcoming software releases are planned.
And, don't forget to send in your very own ideas for improving the tool. Your idea may be the next great time-saving idea that will help every package designer. It might even be the suggestion that sparks an entirely new tool. The only certainty is that your suggestion, if it's never voiced, will never be heard!
If you try a beta tool and love it, consider turning it on for all designers in your company. You can do this by setting the beta variable in your site-level env file. For more information on where this file is located in your installation hierarchy, or how to set up global user preferences in general, consult your documentation or contact your Cadence support representative.