Ivan, I haven't seen you asking so many questions.
What makes you so nervous?

I've been playing around with Protel for some time and
onthe other hand I'm a power PCAD user. 
I can't compare the CAD packages looking at their
prices... I'm more interested in seeing what they can
really do.
Opening a discussion is not my intention here but as
you asked... I may tell you what I like in PCAD, which
is not present in Protel (as far as I can see).

1. PCAD2k has united libraries - a symbol and a
pattern form the component. You may add any attributes
you wish. You define the reference designator there
and when you place a component in SCH or PCB it is
automatically numbered. 
The advantage of having such a component is that you
can assign many patterns to one symbol. For example I
have a footprint SOIC14 (well known) for reflow and
wave soldering. When I flip the component on bottom
side of the PCB, I get the pattern automatically
changed for wave soldering. More over I have the large
pads oriented correctly to the wave direction no
matter how I rotate the component. This saves me much
time from thinking which pattern to use when I place
the component on bottom side and to avoid problems
with checking the PCBs when somebody else is doing it.
I've seen Cadstar-5 and for the same situation they
have only a text "wave" to remind you that you have to
change the footprint on bottom side and then update
the schematic. 

2. The packaging of the components is also done when
you create the library. It has options to define some
pins as common (like power pins) if you have
multi-gate components and don't want to use hidden
pins. By defining the pins in different gates as
common, you may place one gate in the SCH, assign a
net to it and it will automatically assign the same
net the all other placed gates of the same component.
Even if you later on place some of the gates with the
same reference designator, PCAD will automatically add
the same power net to the power pins. Saves a lot of
cheching, believe me.

3. You can specify some pins in the component as
jumpers and then you have one pin of your symbol
connected to more than one pin in the pattern. I mean
automatically connected. When you route it, you see
all jumper pins highlighted.

4. Dimensioning tool in PCAD has always been nice. If
associated with the objects, it's updated
automatically if you move them. I heard you have this
feature now in Protel DXP.

5. Netlist in the schematic is created automatically
when you place the wire. I mean each wire gets a name
assigned to it. You can give a specific name as well.
It's not simply a drawing.

6. PCAD has power split planes, which allow you to
draw copper areas one within the other attached to
different nets just for seconds. I don't think you
could overlap polygons in Protel. Copper pours in PCAD
get automatically poured when you draw one inside the
other that has different net properties. What I don't
like here is the graphical view of the pours. They
look bad in comparison with Protel.

7. There is a set of buttons assigned for the most
used commands as R-rotate, F-flip, O-changing the
route mode 90/45/arc/any, P and Shift-P for
controlling forth and back the reference designators
before plasing the complonent, L-changing the current
layer, +/- for zoom in/out... All you have is easy to
access. 
You can have your schematic and PCB opened at the same
time next to each other. A simple drag and drop can
open the schematic or PCB files if the editors are
opened. Highlighting a component in the schematic lets
you see it on the PCB. 
You can add components in the PCB and then update the
schematic. The new components will be added on a
separate sheet for you with proper net names.

Ah, yes... you can flip (mirror) the whole PCB as you
can see it from bottom side and it's a real design.
You can work with it as a normal design. You have all
layers swapped. I was not able to do the same thing
with Protel.

The manual router in PCAD2k needs improvement. PCAD MD
was much better. But at least you don't need a
learning curve to just place components, make
connections and route them. 
There are some features that I wish to be better...
but nothing is perfect.

I hope my explanations could help you to have a
general view of PCAD as a product if you haven't had
time to play with it. I think it deserves to have its
place on the market.

Regards,
Mira

--- Bagotronix Tech Support
<[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
> Hello, all:
> 
> I just got a brochure from Altium with all their
> *limited time only* new and
> upgrade offers.  I see that they are offering (until
> Dec. 31, 2002):
> 
> 1) new Protel DXP for $7995
> 2) new Protel 99SE with free upgrade to DXP as soon
> as you change your OS
> from Win98/NT to 2000/XP, for $7995
> 3) new Protel DXP '2 for 1' for $7995 to users of
> full Protel suite or
> eligible competing design systems
> 4) PCAD 2002 for $9995
> 
> But they fail to say what the *regular* price is. 
> So I have no idea of how
> much I would be saving by buying before Jan. 1. 
> Anyone know what the
> regular price for these is supposed to be?
> 
> Why is PCAD higher?  Better yet, why is it still
> around?  I thought the
> whole purpose of consolidation was to reduce costs
> by streamlining product
> lines.  What can PCAD do that Protel cannot?  And
> vice versa?
> 
> They are also offering what seems like a better
> deal, Protel 99 XTRA, which
> is just 99SE SCH, PCB, and the autorouter, for
> $4995.  Now that I think
> about, that's what full Protel used to cost!
> 
> nVisage DXP schematic capture, Spice sim, VHDL sim
> and synth.  Guess which
> ONE of these features folks will buy it for?  $2995
> is way too much IMO for
> that ONE feature.
> 
> Best regards,
> Ivan Baggett
> Bagotronix Inc.
> website:  www.bagotronix.com
> 
> 
> 
> 
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