Long ago and far away, in a parallel universe, I had occasion to contact
Protel Tech Support on the issue of what I should be looking for in a
graphics card when I upgraded to a 2.2 GHz P4, and was told:

Protel does not use any of the 3D stuff that is out there (which is pretty
much game stuff anyway), and does all of its own 3D, as well as everything
else, in 2D, and hence any hardware 3D is really useless for Protel, and may
in fact cause problems (however this may no longer be true for DXP).

I was also told that I should have my "Hardware Acceleration" set back from
"Full" to about "half way to two thirds", since some of the more advanced
hardware acceleration features can actually cause problems with Protel, and
if I remember correctly, this may have been especially true of the ATI
cards, however I was using an Nvidea GF2 at the time, but I think that that
was supposed to be applicable to the ATI cards as well. This may or may not
be valid data, but it should be worth a try, and may be a partial solution
and keep your system from crashing until you get a new machine. Possibly
others can comment on this point.

On the issue of the size of the database and problems with the database
itself, here a few observations that may be relevant and may be helpful
until you get more computing power:

I am assuming first of all that you are using the access database format,
and that if so, that you have emptied your recycle bin, and do not have any
extra drawings or other unnecessary things within the database, and also
that you have "compact" on.

I have found that one of the major killers for me in terms of slowing a
system down or causing crashes are large "Polygon Planes", especially when
they have to form around a lot of other circuitry and have very high
resolution, and these things tend to bring Protel to it's knees, and even
crash it. If you have large "Polygon Planes" in the design, you might try
adjusting their parameters, or deleting them altogether for now and
re-adding them back in at the very end of the design.

Another problem that appears to be related to "Polygon Planes", but I am
sure is not necessarily limited to them, since I am sure that this may occur
with any large or complex database, is a problem I have recently encountered
with "Print Preview". I have found that with large "Polygon Planes" that a
"Print Preview" can appear to hang up, and even actually get lost and go
south and never return. This is especially frustrating when there is an
existing "Print Preview" that is open when the database opens because it
will attempt to redraw everything right there before the rest of the
database gets opened up, and can cause things to crash or appear to crash,
when opening the database.

I say "appear to hang up" and "appear to crash" here because on numerous
occasions when Protel appeared to be "lost in space" I would check the Task
Manager and find it saying that "Client99se is Not Responding", and assuming
it to be dead, force it to "End Now". However, on one occasion I did note
force it to "End Now" and simply closed the Task Manager and walked away for
a while, only to come back and find that Protel had in fact returned from
vacation and had actually finished the redraw of the "Print Preview", and
was ready to go, which was really really bizarre.

I bring this up simply because I have thus found out with my system, which
is also running only 128 MB of RAM, that some things take a really really
really long time, like 10 or more minutes long, and that just because the
Task Manager says the program is out to lunch, that doesn't necessarily mean
that it won't come back "after" lunch. With Protel, you have to be ready to
accept anything. The next time it appears to be hung up, take a long long
long break and see if it actually may come back to life.

One final note, if you are using a "wheel" mouse with MS Intellimouse
software, make sure you go to the MS website and have the latest version.

Good luck on surviving until the hardware upgrade.

JaMi Smith

----- Original Message -----
From: "Julian Higginson" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2002 6:31 PM
Subject: [PEDA] Protel99se and win2k fun

> Hey all,
> I just subscribed, looking for a bit of help if possible.... I have just
> started a new job, and I'm taking over an existing design in protel99. Now
> I'm very familiar with protel, however I'm getting a bunch of problems....
> generally crashing out (have had the whole computer reboot on me once, and
> have had freezes, exceptions, out of range memory accesses, all the fun
> stuff)
> Basically the computer appears totally underpowered, its a PIII600 with
> 128Mb RAM. (We've just found another 128 meg stick lying about and put it
> this computer, which makes it run a bit more smoothly, but it has still
> managed to crash) I'm operating on a PCB that is 6 layers and quite large.
> (the PCB file is almost 8 meg) Oh, and it has an ATI video card, which I
> read about in the archives... hmm... so I spoke to my boss and I'm getting
> new computer to work on, so I'm wondering what kind of specs are
> My guess is I need a good FSB speed more than I need the fastest
> I'll need at least 512Mb of RAM. I'll need 7200rpm drive speed, for faster
> sustained disk transfers, and I'll need an OK graphics card, but no need
> some super monster 3D engine....
> What sort of success has everyone on the list had with their computer
> setups?
> ie specs vs board size? and are there any manufacturers other than ATI to
> avoid?
> What features will help with screen redraw speed?
> what features will help with DRC time? (about 15 minutes per DRC at the
> moment)
> How much RAM do I need to throw at the thing to stop it going to
> thanks,
> Julian

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