Hello All,

I was invited to attend a workshop with Mentor Graphics Expedition series.
This is  a PC based, schematic capture and pcb layout. Needless to say quite
impressive and even more impressive was the price.  The full set of Sch and
pcb tool with the features you need to make it work was around 36K.  A basic
starter edition can be purchased for 12K.  I don't want to make a pitch for
Mentor, but instead make some comparisons to 99SE.  The interface was
actually quite similar to Protel.  It was intuitive. I probably could do 90
percent of my design by pulling down menus and selecting  options.  That is
what I didn't like about it, it was too mouse dependant.  I like protel and
Orcad  with  combinations of keys and mouse clicks. I can move twice as fast
considering that I have a handicap in my mouse hand.
Mentors's claim to a common database is not as well supported as Protel's .
Basically their schematic and pcb are two packages that are well linked.
And gentlemen start your engines, because everything about this program was
fast.  Their "synchronizer" was fast,  I mean real fast.    Their panning,
refresh, post processing, drcs, everything must have been written in quick

I had seen a quick demo of this software when it was under the name
VERIBEST.  Verybest had the best pcb software on the market several years
ago.   Cadence in their infinite wisdom pulled the only available router
from the competitors market several years ago.  Where was the FTC when this
monopoly tried to kill the competition?  Struggling companies like PADS and
Accel were eaten up,  Mentor ate up Verybest as a move to find an
autorouter.    Veribest software was more superior than Mentor's own home
grown so they adopted the Veribest software as their own product.   Good

The key to this software is the router.    I have posted many times over the
past several years how important the router is to pcb.  With Mentor,  you
can pick up a part, drop in an area where a ton  of traces already exists,
and watch the traces instantly move, clear, clean or connect.  Oh did I say
super clean, no post cleanup?  The code was quick, the cpu never choked and
it never  took short vacations to quala land .   It was instantaneous
response, always.   As  far as I know Protel and Mentor are the only
programs written for NT , and were not DOS carry-overs.  But Mentor is

A few of you went to PCB west last month,  Raves about flickering menus,
raves about seat comfort, raves about the interface to the cd player and the
coffee warmer.  Protel's next release will set a course for where this
company is really headed.  I see the market headed into high speed design
which I have difficulty supporting right mow.   I have useless rule sets for
high speed design, which Mentor easily supports.    I have not seen the
level of support for high speed design as was integrated into Mentor's
Expedition product.   99SE is not a simple drawing package  or  a substitute
for taping.   It is a serious engineering tool.   I want serious engineering
features, rules and drcs.    I am ready to step up to the plate only because
the designs I receive require high speed rules.   So 36 K for Mentor doesn't
seam unreasonable for high speed design if it is well supported

To end my commentary:  I am still waiting with my checkbook in hand  for
Protel,  but would consider writing more checks.  I have reached the next
game level

Mike Reagan

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