Mike Reagan wrote:

> 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.

Amazing!  The Mentor stuff I've seen is NOT very intuitive.  We are using it
on Sun workstations (also HP) for an IC design.

> 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.

Well, the IC design stuff also has menus, HUNDREDS of them, 15 layers deep!
You can do it all through menus, but you'd need a hierarchical chart the size
a billboard to figure out which menu the function you need is in!

> 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.

Yes, you're preaching to the believers here, at least I think so.  The default
router supplied with Protel 99SE is just barely usable.  Once in a while I
get a pretty good result, usually when I start with an overly large board
outline.  If I have it constrained to a small outline, or have a lot of
mismatched grids (typical these days, with various SMT parts) it just makes
a jumble.  I guess I'm getting a little better at configuring things to get
nearly usable results, but I still need a lot of hand editing before the board
is ready.  I'm hoping we will get a significant improvement on this!


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