OK, thanks everybody for your input on this issue. The list is a really
great resource.

The reality is I have about 6 board designs that have to go out for fast
turn proto this week and hopefully go into a commercial UL/FCC/CE/USB ready
product by September. I don't know what all YOU people do all day long, but
my boss doesn't want me to sit on my fat hairy ass for hours waiting for
$8000 bloatware to complete basic signal analysis. (No offense to those
whose bosses do--and please tell me where to send my resume! ;-) )

In summary, after using Protel for about 4 weeks to TRY to get a lot of real
work done, I have formed the opinion that it just basically sucks--lots of
cutesy trees, tabs, windows, icons and menus, lots of feature-itis, but not
much real engineering guts or ease of use. THE EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES!!! And
yes I CAN talk because I've spent the last 10 years designing various
commercial products with P-Cad, PADS, Accel/Tango EDA, and now Protel. About
the only positive thing I can say about Protel right now is that I am glad
that I wasn't the engineer who recommended purchasing two seats.
Unfortunately I am more or less forced to use it. OK, it _is_ better than
Xacto knife, Bishop Graphics, and a light table. ;-)

My apologies to those who have an irrational emotional attachment to Protel.
When I commit $$$$, I want results. I know it's not an apples-apples
comparison, but Specctra V10 routed the entire board 100%, in 5 passes over
2 layers, with more or less fab-ready results, in about 20 seconds, using
the default configuration. This gave me a warm fuzzy feeling, even when
considering we blew almost $11K on it with all the bells and whistles. 

Now for another couple of questions: 
1) Can anybody recommend a professional level SI/EMI simulator add-in/on
that integrates with either Protel or Specctra--one that actually works? 

2) Since I have to keep on using Protel, should I get a dual CPU
workstation? What specs for W2K?

Darryl Newberry
Hardware Engineer
Freedom Scientific, Inc
2850 SE Market Pl
Stuart FL 34997
(561) 223-6443 

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