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New PCB Design Mix ‘n’ Match

Yesterday Cadence announced a major update to their Allegro PCB design suite. This is the full-featured set of tools targeted at enterprise (= deep pockets) customers. They found that their offering had outgrown the “good/better/best” grading that had been in place for a long time.

What they’ve done instead is to put in place a baseline tool, Allegro PCB Designer, into which various optional modules can be inserted. These modules provide various higher-value functions, and the licenses can be purchased in quantities different from those purchased for the base product. For example, if you do lots of high-speed interface design but only occasional RF design, you can buy more floating licenses for the former and less for the latter. When actually used, the designer would check out a license (assuming one was still available) and release it when no longer needed.

Modules exist for:

  • Team design
  • High-speed design (providing more constraints, automation, and verification options)
  • Miniaturization (HDI board technology, for example; I’ll have more on this at a later date)
  • Analog/RF
  • Design planning (feasibility checking of the “flow” plan, automation of a “topological” plan from the “flow” plan – more or less turning a general routing plan into specific routes, etc.)
  • Enhanced automatic routing

They also updated OrCAD, their PCB design tool for the “mainstream.” In particular, they re-bundled their free “demo” product as a (still free) “Lite” product. Whereas before the  demo product wouldn’t allow you to go to manufacturing, that’s been relaxed. So it consists of a “limited” version of the combined capabilities of their Standard and Professional versions plus some stand-alone PSpice tools. A very small design (up to 50 components) can be created and built using the free tool.

They’ve also added a signal integrity feature and brought the following features from Allegro into their OrCAD Professional version:

  • Diff pair support
  • Placement replication
  • Constraint regions

More detail in their press release

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