Choose Initial Number of PCB Layers

Dated:2017-08-31      Popularity:1209

Have you ever wondered how many layers of a PCB board is suitable and economical? Today, let’s explore some practical design guidelines.

1 or 2-Layer PCBs – Home prototyping
Use 1 or 2 Layer PCB only for very simple boards, breakouts or for some circuits which you are making at home. Don’t use 1 or 2 layer PCBs for interfaces with controlled impedance. In this case, use at least 4 layer PCB.

4-Layer PCB – Simple or cheap boards and breakouts
If possible, always use at least 4-layer PCB. There is not much difference in cost between 2- and 4-layer PCBs, but 4-layer PCB is much better. Recommended for breakouts, small and simple boards. Don’t use for CPU boards with memory interface, but it’s fine for base boards or some microcontroller boards.

6-Layer PCB – Cheap and large boards
Some PC motherboards are built on 6-layer PCBs. Suitable for very high quantity and/or large boards.

8-Layer PCB – Cost effective
There is not big difference in price between 8-layer or 10-layer PCB, but 10-Layer PCB is better.

10-Layer PCB – Suitable for SODIMM computer on module
This is normally maximum number of layers which fits into 1mm thick SODIMM socket. Comparing to 8-layer PCB, this 10-layer PCB provides additional space for power planes in designs with many power domains.

12-Layer PCB – Heavy industry boards or boards with may tracks
12-layer stackup is recommended to use, especially for industrial PC designs. Price is still reasonable and this PCB offers 4 solid ground planes or two additional signal layers.

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