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Please give me a reason to keep sticking with PADS

Question asked by PPi on Jun 11, 2013
Latest reply on Jun 27, 2013 by jim_martens

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.

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