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Hello All.I apologize if this belongs on a different forum.I regularly recommend Allegro+OrCAD CIS to my clients and customers and so far I've had very high acceptance / adoption.However, I am currently being asked to defend replacing a company's toolset from basic level PADS to Allegro. The in-house designer thinks Allegro is crap and after 10 minutes of use he stormed in to see me and told me I was full of it.He asked "what does Allegro do that PADS doesn't? Every I see takes longer to do in Allegro"I have seen lots of nits in my own perusal of PADS but I am asking those who have successfully used both tools to chime in as to pros and cons.Thanks,Bill
Hi Bill,I'm an old Pads hand, and saw it's progression from the days of DOS to Windows on PowerPCB. It's an adequate tool. It does get the job done. But the capacity built into Allegro is hands down, far and away, orders of magnitude more powerful than PowerPCB. Ease of use aside, as both tools have their pros and cons, Allegro has WAY more flexibility and depth. [caveat; I've been using Allegro solely for the last 5 years and haven't seen the latest developments in PowerPCB, so they may have improved things; like, remove the maximum 20 or so routing layer limit; improved the padstack editor; etc.] As far as task time goes, initially, the user will buck at using Allegro, because it seems it takes longer to do everything (designers can be that way when faced with change...). Of course if you have the patience to get over the steeper learning curve, things improve dramatically. At least they have for me. You will also have all the library conversion issues to contend with, as well legacy database conversion if you want to go all the way. That's another issue altogether. Will be happy to chat about it offline if you've found this helpful. ThanksAndrew Andrew NoonanCAE, PCB DesignCisco Systems, Inc. 225 East Tasman DriveSan Jose, CA 95134 USADirect: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ha!Ask the designer to 'mod' in 50 series resistors into a 1200 pin BGA part! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Then see how long it takes to add it to Allegro. That's just one case.Ask him to print the screen display on the fly. Point 2.Ask the designer to selectively thermal relieve only one pin on a 12 pin header. Point 3Ask the PADS man to do a subtle pinout change to a 96 pin BGA (like reconfiguring 12 pins... should be simple, right?)Ask him to add 20 or so bypass caps around some QFP devices.See when you ECO changes to PADS, it RIPS!!!!!!!! out the existing routing for the whole net, unless you take exhasting recautions. Not like simply reading in a new netlist and rerouting ONLY THE CHANGES!. HAHAHAHANow have him change the footprint name of a part, update it, and verify it. Compare it to allegro's refresh_symbol.Subtle things, but fun.I use both PADS and Allegro. As was stated, the quick-n-dirty routines are very easy with PADS. The intense stuff, I prefer Allegro HANDS-DOWN!Good day.Mitch
Don't use Pads, use Altium Designer ....Altium Designer is the old 'protel' brand... it has come on leaps and bounds in the last 5 years, eg, the rules set. You can have any rule from any item to any other item quickly and simply.. in minutesThe cost of Pads, the technology of Allegro, only with common sense thrown in. It has a learning curve akin to climbing a small mound rather that the peak of everest!! Cadstar, Pads & AD can do 99.9% of what Allegro does and can do it in a fraction of the time... Allegro IMHO is not finacially viable & anyone who says it is maybe just trying to justify their own finacial decisions/disasters!Our cost of one seat of AD is half the price of the yearly maintenance on one seat of Allegro ... people seem to want to justify Allegro's price for the fact it does this that & the other... well woopee dooo ... so do the others!As far as a bureau tool.. Allegro is just plain awfull..... **rant over** btw 25 yrs experience with Cadstar, Pads, AD & Allegro....
Howdy,>> the technology of AllegroThis statement is nowhere near accurate if [A]ltium [D]esigner is the reference. Length matching, XNETS, diff pairs, keep-out definitions, no subclasses which relates to gerber files and printing for assembly & fab drawings, and reviews.>> Cadstar, Pads & AD can do 99.9% of what Allegro doesmaybe all three of them put together.., but I do not yet know Cadstar and am only vaguely familiar with Pads.>> it in a fraction of the timeis not possible with AD. AD's online DRC implementation alone adds a long wait time which greatly reduces productivity and this reduction is exponential with board size. The online DRC can be turned of but there is an "Analyzing [every single net]" that AD performs when a connection is made that is also an exponential time hog that cannot be turned off.Comparatively, AD has more than its fair share of serious bugs and the not-so-serious ones are too many to count. There seem to be work-arounds for everything with AD and I believe that is why so many of its flaws have propogated for so long to the current version. Another disconcerting factor is that AD breaks at least ten times more of its features than Allegro does when a new version is released and there is no switch to allow any of the previous version's command behavior in a newer version of AD.A proficient Allegro user may find difficulties learning Altium even with the more friendly interface.Scripts with Altium are not like scripts with Allegro but more like Allegro's skill files where an understanding of programming languages is a must.I admit there are some really advantageous features with Altium and that if you are on your own with limited funds AD is really not a bad way to go. I do recommend adding AD to your arsenal if funds and time allow as it has been a relatively easy adaptation for me.But,I find it hard to believe that Pads would not be a better alternative than Altium.However, when and if I find myself on my own again, I will currently pay for an Altium license and use the profits to get back to Allegro because I do not yet know Pads.My point is that I believe Altium to Allegro is like taking surface streets instead of the freeways. Maybe the same could be said for Pads to Allegro...Cheers!Drew
Umm ..Interesting Drew & I respect your opinion. I guess its a case of favouring what you know best. Sure AD has a few bugs as any piece of software does, but certainly no showstoppers....My biggest problem is that I do not know Allegro well enough to give a constructive opinion, its the learning curve and unfriendlyness of it all that to me seems so uneccassary, and to a point Cadence have shot themselves in the foot as it makes it an unviable system to learn when your getting pressured by the MD to go 'faster faster' !!
Speaking as a fairly new user of Allegro, (I'm still going through the pain of transition from PADS), I would make the following comments. Firstly, if you are upgrading from a BASIC pads installation to Allegro then you are streets ahead, if you are upgrading from a fully configured PADS seat then you are probably still ahead, but only just. Bare in mind that a fully configured PADS seat costs a small fraction of a top end Allegro at full list price, (as someone already mentioned, about the same as your Allegro support conract)I can understand the guy's frustration if he's only spent a little time on Allegro, the user interface is very primative for what is supposed to be a high end tool, and full of holes for what should be very basic editing functions, it's nice that the interface is user configurable but it shouldn't HAVE to be before you can use it efficiently, (and it's not the most robust piece of software I've ever used). There are very few things that you can do in Allegro that you can't do in PADS, (and I would guess Cadstar, haven't used it for a good few years but PADS and Cadstar were always about neck and neck), some things are easier and some aren't.The real winner for us, and the reason we changed over, is the use of constraint manager and the ability to set up the design from Concept HDL, (I won't tell you what our engineers feel about that tool however, as it just wouldn't be polite :)), PADS does have the ability to constrain a design in many of the same ways, (but not enough), and it is so unwieldy to do that setting up and controlling all the interactions required make it virtually unusable.The upshot is that if you want to just do board designs, (of any complexity), then PADS is one of the best tools on the market, it's cheap, (relatively), it's easy to use, (although you'd be surprised how few people seem to know how to use it properly :), it's stable, (or was until Mentor started playing with it!), basically it just works. If you want a powerful integrated, (and I use the term loosely), system then Allegro is some way ahead.Bob D.
Cartouche, I agree there are no "showstoppers" but any one competent designer knowing both tools will spend more time using Altium as opposed to Allegro. More so now with Altium's 6.3 version. Being a current Altium user and even though I favor "Allegro" as you correctly point out, I must acknowledge the users in Altium's forum seem tolerant and have been quite helpful.However, since Altium is more like an annoying child's toy in my optinion and Allegro is too expensive for me to be of use, I am thinking more seriously about Pads than Altium when my current contract expires. Maybe even partly due to the post by Redfish.I will try to shut up now. Cheers!Drew - Knowing the tool is supposed to be half the battle.
Hi Drew,If you are going to be guided by anything I've said then I'd rather not lead you astray, if you want an independent opinion of PADS as it relates more specifically to your requirement's then mail me at email@example.com with any questions. I've been using PADS since 1988 so have a reasonable handle on it.Bob D.
Hey Drew, PADS is good to know for a contract position. It's easy to make lots of money to compliment what you make with Allegro. And folks are so used dealing with PADS it's easy to get work, once you're good with the tool. All agreed.But, if you get frustrated doing simple things over and over because you can't seem to get the tool to do what might seem simple (for allegro), you'll be frustrated. Go back to my message from 6/09, read it, and think if the points are easy with Allegro. I'm still swapping a 1200 pin BGA with a 1500 pin BGA (2 days), and should have it routed tomorrow. THEN! I can 'batch' run the DRCs and check my routing. Oh! so much fun.PADS, Allegro, Altium? I don't care. The tool companies are only after the FINAL $$$, and with excessive 'updates' (show-stoppers) it gets very cumbersome staying current with the tools and STILL get 500-2000 component designs done. You got to learn to stay current. Tools are just another line on the resume.Oops, now I'll step off my soapbox. $20 says the tool question will continue on year-after-year.Good day.Mitch