7 Replies Latest reply on Jun 27, 2013 12:28 PM by jim_martens

    Please give me a reason to keep sticking with PADS


      Ok, I'm a little bit stressed out in here. I'm running basically a one man engineering office. I have PADS LS Suite and use mostly Logic and PADS Layout - only occasionally PADS Router but no DxDesigner at all.


      With the new design where I need to apply SDRAM or even DDR, it would help alot to have length control for routing the bus. A signal integrity check would be nice feature as well and for few times I have missed differential routing rules that are not included in PADS Router in LS suite.


      These features I can get my upgrading my PADS to ES Suite, but it does cost money. Plus to this, my annual subscription would double. So, I've started to look for other options as well... And one is Altium Designer, that is half the price of ES Suite, but about the same in cost of LS -> ES upgrade. I have evaluated Altium now a little bit and it does look like a nice tool. I probably does have its flaws as well, but features are many and from my point of view most what I would use are quite capable doing what they were designed to do. Absolutely welcome features are things like gerber tools (I can view gerbers I made, I can do panelizing) or generating STEP models from my boards (I have had requests from my clients for this and IDF is NOT an solution unless I want to ask for my clients each time to buy a IDF importer plugin for their MCAD just for importing this one object to their system, that's plain silly).


      The schematic capture is also quite nice looking although it will take time to get used to it. I guess DxDesigner comes close to it in features such as reusability and blocking your repeatable parts of your design but there is a learning curve as well thus no matter what route I go I need to familiarize myself with the new tool. Altium also offers lots of ready made library components that can be used to build your own library quicker (saves tons of time for new components, like MCU's). Also trainings are either free (when under subscription) or at least very, very reasonable priced. I can't help but feel that Altium offers more bang for a buck. I'm starting to feeling like I'm a too small user for Mentor Graphics for it to be the supplier for my EDA software.


      I don't know, I'm pulling my hair off while I'm trying to make the decision between these two options. Then again I have also a third option: just to try going on with the current tools even if it is not the perfect choice.

        • 1. Re: Please give me a reason to keep sticking with PADS

          Hi Petri,


          Great question! There are lots of great reasons to stick (or start!) with PADS. I'm sure others will respond from a more technical POV but the timing of your question is amazing, as we just refreshed the /pads website to focus on five key reasons to choose PADS. See www.mentor.com/pads and scroll down!



          • 2. Re: Please give me a reason to keep sticking with PADS



            We frequently hear from users like you - individuals who work in “one-man” offices or own small companies with 2 to 5 engineers/designers.  At a high level, please consider your ROI in terms of your time and productivity.  The primary focus of PADS is on your PCB design.  We give you the depth of functionality you need, and it’s easy for you to learn and use.  Listing a few differentiating features:


            -            - hierarchical schematic design system with tight integration to component information, layout and simulation


            -           -  efficient rules and constraint management for your most complex designs


            -           -  powerful interactive placement and routing, differential pair and high speed routing … and unmatched strategy-driven auto-routing


            -            - advanced design verification and manufacturing checks



            To participate in deeper technical discussions, consider joining the PADS PCB Design Group at http://www.linkedin.com/groups?home=&gid=2709886&trk=anet_ug_hm





            • 3. Re: Please give me a reason to keep sticking with PADS

              If you do complex PCB layout, you soon find that Altium is lack of the capabilities you need, although

              Altium have a modern GUI. If you are a individual engineer, responsible for everything from design entry, layout, SI/PI analyis, that Pads is the right tool.



              • 4. Re: Please give me a reason to keep sticking with PADS

                Thank you for your responses. I was already getting worried about not hearing a word from anyone to this topic...


                Mike, you are spot on about ROI. Of course, I'm looking both to improve my work-flow to save time and to have tools that won't limit my work. If I didn't have to care about money, I would simply buy either every possible option or tool-set on the market. However, this isn't the case now, especially at times like this.


                What I currently use are PADS Logic, Layout and occasionally Router (yes, I do quite a lot interactive routing and only little automatic). I actually like the PADS layout tools a lot – they are simple to use and efficient in my opinion. Little improvements do get included in every update as well. About the logic then.. Well. It's a good tool, but I think it is quite outdated... I don't see much of improvement since 2005. What makes me more worried is that the development seems to be more active on the DxDesigner rather than Logic and the transition between Logic and DxD is one way route.


                That said, I have tried my hands on DxDesigner and I can't help but feeling frustrated, very unproductive and have kept sticking with Logic. Now that I'm evaluating ES upgrade I'm trying my hands on the praised DxDatabook as well and I feel just the same about it – not worth the hassle, at least not in my scale. It can be just me though, failing to see easier/proper way to do things.


                Yanfeng, please tell me more about the limitations? I'm sure the definition about “complex” may differ from engineer to engineer as well. However, this is essential information to me.


                Yes, I work in collaboration with few people but I'm the only engineer to do the HW design so far. I can get the work done with LS suite as well, but it can be very time consuming and sometimes perhaps not 100% the way I would like it to be. Due to this, some checks such as signal integrity have to be left to prototyping phase (mind you, I wouldn't have 100% confidence on simulated results either but perhaps as indicative).


                LS Suite does not have any support for Advanced Rules (e.g. differential routes) or High-speed Routing either. Somehow I feel like at least these options should be included in the set. No, I'm not sure how good the competitive tools are at these areas but the truth is that you can have all these features and much more at half the price (both acquisition and subscription), that can be very tempting.


                So we are back to question about ROI and functionality that I need to reach the goal. I guess these are the questions that only I can answer but the decision is not easy.

                • 5. Re: Please give me a reason to keep sticking with PADS



                  I cannot understand why you do not use PADS Router - the interactive (and manual of course) routing is wonderful in that tool. Please take 2 minutes to watch this video:




                  It would be my pleasure to host a WEBEX or “GoTo Meeting” for you, in order to demonstrate all the advantages of the ES suite - and there are very many. Should you prefer I can arrange for Hannu Tikannen to make the same in your own language. The ARS/HSD offers so much functionality you will be surprised. Also very much has changed since 2005.


                  PADS remains one of the most productive tools in the market. Don't compromise the quality of your own work with anything else!




                  Steve Gascoigne

                  +353 86 7715701


                  • 6. Re: Please give me a reason to keep sticking with PADS

                    Thank you for the input, Steve! It's nice to hear a word from Mentor directly. I may have said little wrong, I do use PADS Router as well, but just not much of automatic tools. Interactive routing is working good and e.g. push & shove saves tons of time!


                    Unfortunately (!) this is just not an unique feature of PADS and ARS/HSD requires very, very expensive license, although I know that in past these options were even higher priced when purchased separately.


                    I know that PADS is a good product, I'm not questioning it. Otherwise I wouldn't be using it today. But is it worth to have another expensive upgrade, double the annual expenses to keep it up-to-date and be in doubt about development of Logic and whatever if I should move to DxD that still can't attract me by any means... I just don't know. But I guess I just have to figure out the ROI of this all by myself.


                    I will continue to talk Hannu's colleagues. I have already harassed them a little bit about the subject and I have still some questions and lessons left in my ES evaluation guide.

                    • 7. Re: Please give me a reason to keep sticking with PADS



                      Just checking in with you. How's your evaluation going?  How did you find the PADS ES Evaluation Guide - did that help you out?