How to Choose Your PCB Board Design Software
Printed circuit board (PCB) design software has been development for many years, experiencing continuous modification and improvement. It is known to all that the survival of the fittest, thus after mergers, acquisitions, and strong alliances, it is only Cadence and Mentor that are two giant PCB design software companies left.
Cadence's SPB (Silicon Package Board) series, schematic tools use Orcad CIS or Concept HDL, and PCB Layout uses Allegro. Mentor has three series of PCB design tools: Mentor EN series, Mentor Board Station; Mentor WG series, Mentor Expedition; and PADS series, PowerPCB. In addition, Altium's Protel also has many college users.
So, how to choose a tool that suits yourself from various PCB design software as a PCB beginner?
One of the most realistic criteria for measuring the merits of a software is its market share, which means its popularity. The Protel series has courses in many colleges and universities. There are many users for teachers and students in colleges and universities, but we must admit that Protel is indeed one of the lowest-end software in the PCB software family, so few PCB companies use it.
Mentor PADS, formerly PowerPCB/ PowerLogic series, is the best one among low-end PCB software. Its user-friendly, easy-to-use, and powerful features are favored by SMEs, and has a considerable market share among SMEs.
Cadence Allegro, Mentor EN and Mentor WG are the most high-end PCB software. Large companies like ZTE and Huawei all use these high-end design software. Among them, Cadence Allegro now seems to be the de facto industry standard for high-speed board design. Its learning resources are also relatively rich and suitable for self-study. Mentor Expedition is the most smooth software for pulling wiring. Its automatic routing function is very powerful, and the layout rules are very professional.
Mentor EN series is the most professional PCB design software that is transplanted from the early UNIX system to Windows system. However, it is difficult to learn and is not recommended to learn by yourself.
Therefore, for PCB beginners, learn tools provided by your company. If it is for your own learning needs, we recommend to choose Cadence Allegro or PADS.
EPCB hope you can know how to choose your PCB design software after reading this article.