On Thu, 18 Sep 2003 22:29:43 +1000, Ian Wilson wrote:
> Otherwise the quote upgrade price is about $2500.  Lets assume a 
> designers on-cost is between 25 and 50 dollars per hour - 25 to 50
> hours of improved productivity will pay for it, one week.  So, the
> question then is how long will I have to be running DXP to get 25 to
> 50 hours of productivity improvement?
> That is the real question, not the actual cost.  But this is a harder 
> question to answer.
> I have been a little disingenuous here, I haven't included the 
> learning curve which is significant in one area - queries.  Add a few
> days for that.

I think more than just a little disingenuous. I find it extremely 
difficult to believe that anyone not already familiar with DXP can be 
as productive as they are with 99SE "in a few days". In fact, this was 
a major factor in my cost analysis of DXP vs. 99SE that led to my
decision to not upgrade. That and the fact that even after I go up the
learning curve, I haven't seen anything that will make my designs
better or happen more quickly or with less errors.

I'm a reasonably smart guy having many years (20+) of experience with 
engineering software in general. I figured more like 1-2 months to come 
up to speed on DXP and become anywhere near as efficient as I am with
99SE (primary rule of engineering management: engineers are eternal
optimists when it comes to time estimates! ;-)). I also figured I'd be
spending the first week or two just sorting out how everything works in
general. Following the posts on the Yahoo DXP list reinforces this

I presume you have someone paying for your "seat time", i.e. you have
an employer that's issuing a paycheck whether your jobs are completed
or not and also continues to pay you while you are "going up the
learning curve" with new software. I'm an independent contractor and I
don't get paid unless the job gets done, so any time I spend learning
new software and struggling with a learning curve are "on my dime".
This is a significant cost to me -- a week of "learning time" costs me
~$3000 in billable work. There has to be an awful lot of productivity
increase in DXP vs. 99SE to make it a paying proposition for me.

Maybe I'm missing something, but I haven't seen much in DXP vs. 99SE
(at least to this point) that makes a huge difference to designers
doing everyday work (schematics and PCB's). Yes, I'm sure that some of
the features of DXP are "nice to haves" and "must haves" for a few
people. But for the masses of us doing basic schematic and PCB design
work, I just don't see it -- especially when you take into account the
"hidden costs", i.e. learning curve, design migration, etc.

In the end, my conclusion is that DXP was primarily an artificial 
direction change by Altium to generate cash sales to please the 
stockholders and not driven by user demand. I don't believe there are
any fundamental flaws with 99SE that couldn't have been fixed, save for
the fact they'd be hard pressed to ask $2500-$8000 them. So drop
support for an existing (good) product and make a new one that is
essentially a "forced update" if you want any support into the future.

I guess Altium figured it works great for Microsoft so they should 
adopt the method too. In the meantime, I'll be sticking with 99SE and 
living with the (known) problems it has, just as I'm sticking with
Windows 2000 until something better from someone else comes about. I
would love to see an SP7 that fixes the majority of existing bugs and
would even pay for it. But even if they are not fixed and no SP7 ever
emerges, I can't see any reason to upgrade to DXP.

Just an opinion of a long time Protel user.

Matt Pobursky
Maximum Performance Systems 

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