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Cadence allegro, orcad or altium , which one to get?

E2005 (Electrical) (OP)
26 Aug 09 10:44
I have been using eagle for schematic capture and layout so far. I need to get a better one. Can anyone suggest which one to get. I need to do schematic capture ( hopefully able to simulate too) and pcb layout. I have tried multisim/ultiboard also in the past.
Is there one which is industry standard ( most people use) and good( will also help in getting job).
Thank you for your suggestion   
IRstuff (Aerospace)
26 Aug 09 11:58
Do you intend to swap files with other people?

If not, then all you really need is for Gerber output, no?  

TTFN

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MacGyverS2000 (Electrical)
26 Aug 09 13:53
What is the maximum size of your schematic?  Your PCBs?  Are you simulating digital, analog, RF?  With so little info, right now your questions amounts to "What kind of car should I get?".

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

E2005 (Electrical) (OP)
26 Aug 09 14:23
IRstuff: Usually i do not need to swap files. But mecahnical guys ask me at times for a step or iges files so they can put cad model of circuit in the package. So something which can do CAD model of circuit along with other ( schematic capture and layout ) would be helpful.Thanks
minimelfer: i have heard eagle pro is good but its not a industry standard(meaning not many people use it, just my hunch). cadence is a lot more powerful.Interesting to know, that dedicated simulation softwares are better then the once that come with say multisim.Thanks

macgyvers2000: you are absoutely right the way i asked the question was ' what car should i buy?' sorry for lack of info
 Usually i need 2  to 6 layer boards( 2 inchX 2 inch to 6 X6 inches) but future needs could be as high as 10 layers( or smaller/larger boards). I have mostly needed analog,digital and RF circuits so far but higher frequency circuits many also be needed ( depending upon what kind of project i can get). Since they are expensive i want to make sure whatever i buy, is investment for future

Thanks for sharing your thoughts , let me know if you have any other thoughts  
itsmoked (Electrical)
26 Aug 09 14:26
Do you realize that ORCAD, Xcell, etc cost Thousands of Dollars?  (Xcell is about $10K)


Where is Eagle falling short for you?

Keith Cress
kcress - http://www.flaminsystems.com

MacGyverS2000 (Electrical)
27 Aug 09 7:24
For the # of layers you're looking at, there's no overriding reason to go with any of the large packages you mentioned.  

For board size, you mentioned fairly small boards (up to 6x6), but then you said the future could be smaller or larger.  You need to have an idea of what you need.

For the simulation, you repeated exactly what I typed (digital, analog, RF), but then said higher-frequency projects may be needed in the future... RF is kind of assumed to be anything from a few MHz on up into the GHz (THz?) range.  The packages you mentioned don't simulate RF, per se, and there are specialized packages that handle RF much better than a package designed for schematic capture.  Again, you need to have an idea of what you need.

As you said, since they are expensive packages you need to be sure what to buy... but you can't make that decision if you can't lock down what you need in such a package.

Altium (what I use) will set you back $5k for their perpetual license, though they now have year-long licenses that are <$1k.  the latest version does a really good job of integrating CAD models into the design flow (I believe they are including a CAD modeler directly in the package these days, but exporting to IGES is a no-brainer for it).

Packages like MultiSim/Ultiboard are trying hard to get out of the hobby world, but they have a long way to go... because of that, you can find some really cheap packages in their lineup (and you get what you pay for).

I haven't priced Cadence in quite a few years, but last I checked it was already north of $10k/seat.  Powerful, but way too much for anything I'll ever use as I'm not working on two foot square 20+ layer boards.  As with all programs, Cadence also has (had?) a reputation for being quite quirky in its interface.

If you don't mind Linux, you should check out gEDA:
http://www.gpleda.org/
Surprisingly powerful package, open-source, and you can't get much better than free when you're tight on budget.

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

E2005 (Electrical) (OP)
27 Aug 09 10:19
macgyvers2000 : Thanks for your insight. It was very useful. Do you know how altium fares in the market( number of users point of view) as compared to cadence. I understand both cadence and altium have their pros and cons. I used multisim/ultiboard before but when i was interviewing for jobs sometime back i found not many people in the industry use it. Probobly for the reason you stated( its not that powerful and for hobbyst). So all the time spent in learning it was not very helpful.
Therefore , since now i have opportunity to buy a good software which will meet my current requirements but also make me more valuable in the market for future as i prepare to design and layout more complex circuits. What others have said is right for 2-10 layers, analog, digital circuits and RF in the range of MHz is all i do right now. But am trying to get projects for GHz work also. I would like a packaged simulation software so i can save time. The ability to integrate CAD models is also helpful. Thanks again for you insight.
IRstuff (Aerospace)
27 Aug 09 10:32
I think you are getting too hung up on specificity of the product.  While you might be at some disadvantage with a different package, you will ALWAYS wind up interviewing at a company using some random package.  That's the nature of the business, and depending on the size of company, you'll wind up seeing different tiers of products.  After all, learning to drive a Beetle won't stop you from driving a Porsche, would it?

TTFN

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IRstuff (Aerospace)
27 Aug 09 10:39
Furthermore, whatever experience you have with any given system is mostly transferrable to a new system.  In such cases, you would simply concentrate on your flexibility and ability to learn new systems quickly, etc...

TTFN

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MacGyverS2000 (Electrical)
27 Aug 09 11:52
As IR pointed out, not all of your time was wasted.  Yes, you may have to learn the flow of a new product, but the main ideas needed are still valid (filling in parameters for simulations, designing PCB footprints from datasheets, etc.)

There was rumor (and I highly stress "rumor") that Altium was going the way of the DoDo... it seems the economy hit them really hard as businesses tried to tighten their belts.  Granted, everyone I've ever spoken to on the subject has said they despised Altium's update/payment setup... when they come out with "major" version updates every 6 months and charge full price to upgrade, they make Microsoft look like pikers.  I think they've seen the error of their ways, but possibly too late to save them.  Assuming the rumors are true, mind you...

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

geekEE (Electrical)
28 Aug 09 19:18
OrCAD is no longer supporting PCB layout. Since they were bought by Cadence, they're pushing Allegro.  

One other package that you might look at is PADS PowerPCB.

But I agree with others that your experience will transfer to other packages.  

Glenn
Comcokid (Electrical)
29 Aug 09 9:55
You asked how Alitum is doing in the market. I would have to say as the many other packages have slowly dissappeared or have been absorbed it seems more companies have choosen Protel/Altium as a replacement over the other choices.

I used Protel/Altium for a long time, but currently work at a company that uses PADS, and I find I don't like it. The approach to PCB design keeps you in a straight-jacket and does not easily allow you to "what if" or free-form as you try to work out the best way to do a complex mixed-layout design where you might be changing the circuit on-the-fly. None of the other engineers where I work like PADS either, and they came from the Orcad or Eagle worlds.

I did once work at a company that used a outside profession PCB design service, and they used Allegro. They would crank out complex designs from schematics and a written description in a very short time. But that was all these designers did - they could setup the complex design rules and let-er-rip. I view Allegro as a top-level package, but one intended for people who's whole career is to make PCB layouts.
zappedagain (Electrical)
9 Sep 09 17:10
Last i saw Altium had a perpetual license offer for about $2400.  They were my preferred choice about three years ago but I went with PADS for half the price.  Now Altium is half the price of PADS!  Grrr...  

John D

PS PADS has a nice simulation tool but it is very expensive (10K-25K+).  I do my simulation in SwitcherCAD even though I have to generate a second schematic to run simulation.  
 
awood (Aerospace)
11 Sep 09 6:08
You might consider the Proteus Design Suite. I have found it to be a very good and reliable package.

Check it here http://www.labcenter.com/

Simulation, 3D Modelling, PCB Layout... very effctive!

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