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On 11:05 AM 3/10/2001 -0600, Eric Albach said:
>Is this a true statement about Protel?
>(I think this was comparing Protel to PowerPCB)
>
>"PROTEL for PCB design cannot handle high complexity electrical designs 
>and especially high speed designs. The route tool software applications 
>are limited in the control a designer has, especially in fan outs on high 
>pin count high density designs (tracks per inch)."

First off - I have read the other comments on this thread.  Few seem to 
address the actual statement " The route tool software applications are 
limited in the control a designer has, especially in fan outs on high pin 
count high density designs (tracks per inch)."  Not that I am criticising 
the balancing discussion that the question has engendered.

I would say the statement is TRUE.

The current router offers virtually no control.  There are basically no 
knobs to twiddle to set weights or importances of different aspects of the 
design (minimize vias or minimize track length).  Does anyone else recall 
the myriad "knobs" that the AdvRoute 3 ( the Nuero-Route based product) had?

The design rule system does allow some control of the auto-router but one 
is often attempting to control the router by second order effects.  I do 
not know how I could "control fan outs on high pin count high density 
designs (tracks per inch)" with the current router - maybe by some clumsy 
net class/clearance rule.

Now, if we looked forward we may get a better auto-router but we have been 
waiting for some time on *any* news on this and the other major directions 
that any new version will take Protel.  I would be surprised if a new 
router was to be a service pack to P99SE. Rather I would expect it to be a 
major selling point of a new version.  So...if someone was comparing CAD 
packages and autorouting was significant in their features matrix then 
statements like that above comparing Power PCB to Protel are possibly 
valuable - especially when validated by asking groups such as this.

Protel has traditionally offered a period just before full release of a new 
version where buying the current version will get you automatic upgrade to 
the new version (90 days from memory).  I have no info if they would be 
doing this this time around.  So the buying decision can become quite 
difficult.  We know there is a new version imminent, we think it will have 
a better autorouter but we have no firm info. We do not know when that will 
be released so we do not know if we buy now whether we get the next version 
for nix.  (Dont' forget to throw into this pot the past record of Protel, 
and virtually any major software company, to get a major release even close 
to bug-free.)

If I was a potential buyer and had been following many of the threads on 
this forum for the last few months, say, then I would certainly be asking 
pretty hard questions of the sales staff  - particularly about the timing 
of future versions.

The other respondents in the thread addressed pretty well the issues of 
*why* concentrate on the autorouter and what areas Protel may be better 
than the other package.

bye for now,
Ian Wilson

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