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I'm fairly new in PCB Design, and have been doing a lot of research on trying to find what software to use. I've been trying out Orcad 16 Suite, but so far the only software I have experience with is Orcad Capture. Cadence seems to have a lot of software packages and i'm getting pretty confused with so many options. My project does not involve immense complexity, but i do need a professional tool.What are the differences between Orcad Capture CIS and Allegro Entry Level Design CIS?What are the differences between Orcad PCB Editor and Allegro PCB Editor?I read in the Orcad Forums that Orcad Layout is soon to expire, but i was a bit disappointed because it seemed like the documentation and tutorials for Orcad Layout are so much better than for Orcad PCB Editor.If someone has suggestions on what they think is the best route to go at this date as far as Schematic/PCB package, please I would really appreciate the help.Thanks,Omer Peleg
allegro is one of the most powerful tool in its kind. i have also used orcad before and i can tell you that it wont match the capabilities of allegro. allegro is compatible with netlists from both orcad capture cis and allegro design cis.regards,dominic
My personal experience with either Orcad/Allegro tool is absolutely horrific. After using ALTIUM tool with its superb documentation, tutorials and online help, going back to study this new tool (we got version 16.0) is a very bad move. As soon as I can I will go back to ALTIUM. As you can see on the cadence site, there is practically nothing there for novice users. Half of all presentation is about "how business is going well...". It is a month now as I read documents for PCB editor, and it is one of the worse set of technical writing so far. They have to spend $200 and buy ALTIUM intro kit and play with it for couple of weeks. May be this will bring some light how PCB software must look like. Sorry for all these negativities, but I am in the middle of the design using cadence tool and I suffer a lot.Nick
If you can't get by on Allegro with1) this site2) Allegro's turorials that are installed with the toools (have you looked at them)3) a tremendous amount of users worldwide that provide free support to newbies - cdnusers.org - pcbstandards.com - pcblibraries.com - padmasters.com -others4) Sourcelink.cadence.com (if you're on maintainence)I learned when NONE of this was available. I don't know how many people I've talked to about this, and I contend... if I can't train a MONKEY to use allegro in 3 days - the friggin' monkey MUST be dead!Yes, it is a hard tool to learn on your own, I will certainly agree with that. BUT no one is alone. Yes, Altium is easy to learn. But, as I've heard, if your database crashes (and I've heard it's OFTEN) good luck. Altium gives you the busy signal...I've learned PADS, Altium and ExP so far. By far I love teaching users Allegro the best. I tend to run into very creative users that are using Allegro.Have you done .5 or .8mm BGAs? Are you doing high constrainded boards? Do you get your mechanical info from Pro-E or SolidWorks? Do you do uVias (or stacked uVia) designs? I have/do and more.If you're doing simple 6"x6" boards with .020" vias and no impedance criteria, maybe Altium is the best for you. If you're not, and want to learn from some of the most sophisticated users online, I'd highly recommend Allegro.Now,then, what would you like to know? Please contact me personally if you need immediate help.Mailto: cadpro2k_at_yahoo_dot_comGood day.Mitch
I'm 100% Allegro in my company. I have seen other complex designs done in PADs but they are never as easy and don't have the error checking of Allegro. I have beaten my head over PCAD and Layout...sigh...As cadpro2k says, it should take less than 3 days to be rolling in Allegro -- more to become expert but I don't think that's the point.Yes, all tools have warts. If I were to sit down in front of Altium I doubt I'd be proficient without training. Look for the positives -- Allegro *is* the number one PCB tool.
Cadence Allegro PCB Design Here at Quantum CAD we use just about every type of PCB design software there is on the market, such as Cadence Allegro/Orcad layout, Mentor Expedition/Pads, Zuken CR5000/Cadstar, Visula and Altium Designer/Protel. However, my personal experience and expertise lay with Cadence Allegro and to a slightly lesser extent Mentor Pads, I also have considerable experience with OrCAD Layout. I find each of the mentioned packages has their pros and cons, and are best suited for different design tasks, back a few years when I used to work at OrCAD (1997-1999) as a technical support Engineer, in the run-up to being taken over by Cadence, OrCAD Layout was marketed as a “shrink wrap solution” to PCB designs. i.e. you get it out of the box and install it immediately and in theory start designing PCBs albeit not very complex ones ones, as the tool didn’t really lend itself to complex designs or High speed constraint driven types of design. So the types of design you would get from OrCAD Layout would be fairly basic, I also found the tool a bit cumbersome to use.After the Cadence take-over (1999), We were all shipped from Basingstoke to Bracknell, and I was given the title of Applications Engineer, here I was introduced to Allegro PCB editor, which was a much better piece of PCB design software, this was a high end piece of kit and was aimed at larger organisations, generally it needed to be installed by the local IT guru and was available in both Windows and Unix platforms, with Allegro PCB Editor anything seemed possible, although the software had a far steeper learning curve, but once learnt it was a delight to use, and since the introduction of the constraint manager, this software is one of the best high end tools available on the Market today, and since leaving Cadence as a senior Applications engineer in 2001 is still my choice of PCB design software to date.Mentor Pads is software which I have only been using for the past year, its aimed primarily at the medium to small sized companies, but even “fred in his shed” can afford this it, as its reasonably priced and is a scalable solution. On the top of the scale or “high end” has features in it which you would perhaps only expect to find in Cadence or Mentor software. Pads is fairly easy to pick up, but once you have got over the initial learning curve, I found the software very labour intensive compared to say Allegro. Just doing simple things takes much longer to accomplish. But saying that you get what you pay for as the old adage goes and, it does a very good job on all sorts of designs from the simplest to the most complex.As a PCB designer I am interested to know what other designers experience are with using different PCB design software, and what types of designs they regularly do with it, and the pitfalls if any of using that software.Stephen Grant-Davies
Stephen,I'd like to offer that the key to successful design lies with the designer, not with the toolset.Complex designs can be produced using any "shrink wrap" type tool that's been on the market since the early 1990's. I do agree that some tools enable a designer to be more productive, but there's almost always a cost / performance tradeoff involved (at least for those of us who actually pay for the tools we use).Take any financial consideration out of the equation and I'd personally choose a full blown Cadence toolset.Ultimately I'll design on whatever platform my customer owns.Hth,Dave
I know its been a little while since i posted this question. First I'd like to thank all the people that posted, since the information was really useful for me.I just wanted to say that I ended up using Altium. I am so impressed with this software, and how really thought out the GUI is. This is night and day compared to Orcad Layout. With Orcad 16.0 suite I had about 15 applications installed, where in Altium everything is integrated so smoothly. Maybe for a large scale, high speed,and high end project Allegro would be ideal, but really i can't see any other reason not to use Altium.
Only time will tell...Altium might just be suitable for your current application.Good luck, and may your journey's be plentiful.Mitch
It's too bad you didn't investigate Allegro further. It is a fantastic tool. Good luck with your new tools.