so as a friend of mine once said:
'you got any _good_ news'?

our 2004 has still not arrived
i was advised by altium that the CDs were 'injected' into 
the US mail system in mid march
(i'll leave that comment as the straight man setup line)

it has been a long long stated goal of protel to offer
a complete suite of end to end design tools - 
way back to the earliest days when they weren't really offering them

so i guess this latest push into FPGAs et al is the final 
leg of that journey

PCB layout tools are maybe just not sexy enough to hold their full
attention any longer

a solid 3D modeller (2-way w/ solidworks), 
a real (useable) interactive semi automated
comp placement tool and
a screaming -interactive- autorouter
would be examples of a few productivity enhancers that would 
be much appreciated by us board guys
these types of enhancements don't seem to be on their radar

however, the multi channel stuff is compelling enough for 
us to give 2004 a whack
also in a few years 99SE will probably finally break due to some
Access/MDAC or other MS problem, so the switch over is an inevitability
i think

Dennis Saputelli

edsi wrote:
> >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 inform
> 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.

Integrated Controls, Inc.           Tel: 415-647-0480  EXT 107 
2851 21st Street                    Fax: 415-647-3003
San Francisco, CA 94110   

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