Just downloaded DXP demo yesterday and rejoined the forum (missed any
earlier discussion).

My initial impressions:

To compare the product I choose an 8-channel amplifier board that is one of
six identical cards used in a 48 transducer system.  Of course this was very
tedious to do (or tedious to maintain, take your pick) with 99SE methods for
handling multiple channels and the even the auto routing of a single
two-sided card was ridiculously complex and loaded with vias.  The
interesting thing about the test is that the card layout by hand is actually
quite simple and can be routed by someone with minimal experience (me) with
no vias and nice trace hugging.

To facilitate comparison, I created the auto routing test PCB from my hand
layout by locking those traces that clearly reflected choices that I was
making to influence the layout, both design and aesthetic, (like power rails
and initial signal fanouts from connectors).

DXP routes the card essentially the same as my hand layout in about 1.5
minutes, but with about 6 vias.  99SE failed to complete the route and makes
a mess of what it does complete, with about 40 vias left standing.

cleaning the board between tests.  Since they do this identically to some
(not all) of the unconnected prerouted stubs I used to influence the layout,
I assume this is the identical software still in place.

If the multichannel features work at all, they will be a big win for me and
huge step in the right direction.  I will let you know.

If the flat file project methods work reliably, that is also a plus as it
reflects the way most programming IDE's work with complete independent
access to files, the file dates, etc.  My guess is: no more trips to PLUTO!

So for moderate level projects like I have, DXP might be a big win.  On the
other hand it may not be as improved as I would like.  Even a quick cursory
test revealed that the old bugs are still there.  But other problems with
99SE were more limiting than the few bugs I learned to tolerate.  These
things made 99SE largely unworkable (PLUTO effect and multichannel
maintenance, etc).


Tim Hutcheson
Institute for Human and Machine Cognition
40 S. Alcaniz St.
Pensacola, FL 32503

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