>The problem with DXP, it is fairly widely acknowledged, is that its 
increased power has come with an increased complexity which has not yet been 
sufficiently been compensated by ease-of-use enhancements. An 
experienced 99SE user is going to face a serious retraining hit at this time. The 
general report from those who bite the bullet and learn the DXP way is that it is 
worth it, *but*, quite obviously, if you are going to have to retrain, the time is 
ripe to consider other systems.<

Here is my assessment
Fair Warning ... don't uninstall your 99SE if the EULA indeed recommended that you 
uninstall. I have had 2004 long enough to do about 6 pcb designs, and can report few 
if any real improvements. Let's count the real improvements, without arguing whether 
features are better or not. PCB only....I don't dabble in the schematica world

SPECTRA interface has improved, ODB output is an improvement, PAD stacks are finally 
implemented. RELIABILTY rates with version 3.x. I got access violations to the point 
that it quit working on me completely. Had to shut down for a half day, translate that 
to half day loss wages. Mouse control rates with version 3.x . Things stick to your 
cursor and you scream at your PC LET IT GO , I don't want to pick that up. Maybe I 
need to slow down my inputs so DXP can catch up. I forgot to mention, it worse than a 
resource hog it is a pig. It is slower than 99SE. I am running a 2 Gig machine. I had 
to disable MACAFEE virus and my firewall. Half the time it wont even come up if the 
firewall is activated. How is that for real feedback and not just saying it sucks. 
Some Keystrokes are disabled so now you have depress buttons with the mouse/ cursor 
which slows design down,  it has the real feel of ACCEL.  I also am trained on PCAD.   
 Most the menus are not easily legible, you have do read thru alot of uneccessary 
ation and  pictures to change one parameter. The same information is there but the 
presentation is poor. Maybe a PADS user or an ACCEL user might like it because they 
don't know the difference. ACCEL graphics looks like bit-mapped Crayola and if you 
zoom out in PADs round pads turn to squares and other objects , so this looks good to 
new Altium customers.

The masking features are cool but in case ya'll didn't know it, you could mask in 
99SE. In single mode, with one a mechanical layer click on the net, net class etc. on 
the pcb panel. The mask isn't crystal clear, but Protel could have improved this 
without introducing ACCESS VIOLATIONS , Bet you didn't know you mask in 99SE. I've 
been doing it for years to analyses complex routes. 

99 percent of what I typed into the online help turned up no help. Custumizing is very 
limited.   I exceeded this program's abilty in a few hours.  I exceed the original DXP 
release in about 30 minutes. It was useless. I must be getting smarter.  2004 is much 
better than DXP but ...

There is no real clear advantage over 99SE PCB other than popping up ACCESS VIOLATIONS 
. It designs the same  boards, in more time . Believe me, by the time I rolled my 6 th 
board out, I know how to use this program. It takes longer to design with because you 
fight with it instead of it rolling off your finger tips. I don't care if Altium is 
listening or not at this point, Im just passing the costs on to my customers like 
everyone else does. Hope Altium never needs a design from me because I would charge 
them my highest rate. At this point, I don't have time to debug their tools anymore, 
including their router. This stuff should be mature, very mature. It has been under 
development for a long time. DXP is basically on it 4th release with 2004. I don't see 
the dust settling until SP2 for 2004. I will be closer to retirement by then so it 
won't matter.  

Include unreliable netlist imports, not finding errors in the netlist, and not being 
able to match components to the libraries.  How is that for unreliable,   This is a 
recipe for designing a disaster.  I pride myself in the few errors,  I make.  I can 
not trust this program to maintain the level of integrity I have had.   How is that 
for an assesment

Mike Reagan 


Note to Dennis Saputelli :

The 028 holes are still a problem in 2004, just harder to change back now. 

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