If you keep consistent design practices geared around 99SE's DRC capabilities, yes, some things may take a little extra effort, but, you should be able to maximize out the built in DRC without having to do checks with additional tools.
However, I'm upset to hear that 2004's DRC might be a step down since I purely rely on Protel's package for all of my DRC needs.
Mike did mention that it was the online DRC he was concerned about. Mike have you got any problem with the batch DRC.
Looking at P99SE and P2004:
1) P2004 does not allow on-line checking for "unrouted net constraints", P99SE does allow this but I never had it checked
2) P2004 adds checking for "unconnected pin", P99SE does not have this option
3) P99SE does not allow you to enable/disable the "Routing Corners" check either for online or batch - this must be an oversight. (P2004 fixes this.)
4) P2004 allows height checking (both online and batch)
I have not tested that all these checks work - this is just what I saw on the relevant dialogs.
The only thing I can see the P99SE can check online that DXP can't is "unrouted net constraints". I would not normally have this enabled for on-line checking, but maybe others do. Unrouted nets do not appear in the P2004 PCB panel (when you have Rules selected in the top drop list), in P99SE unrouted nets are shown in the Browse PCB pane when it is set to violations. Mike is this what you were referring to? Some detail would help.
Or is this off the mark - are you saying that the online DRC is not finding stuff it should in P2004? P2004 does have a problem with not clearing clearance errors in some cases when it should - this is irritating, but the batch DRC clears it as does doing something on the net nearby (retriggering the online check to pass over the track again). I am not sure about it not finding errors when it should.
P2004 does, falsely, show an error like the following sometimes:
> >(Min=0.22mm) (Max=0.22mm) (Preferred=0.22mm)
> > Violation Track ...... Actual Width=0.22mm
The problem here is internal rounding I guess - it can be fixed a number of ways. I am not sure, but I think P99SE suffered the same issue.
I have asked Mike for some files to investigate another issue and have not received them. Just as for that issue (netlist loading) I think some more info on this (DRC) would be useful. I am not sure how Altium can fix something when it is not described in detail. I assume Mike has reported these issues to Altium.
The first DRC problem that many people have is trying to set a different clearance for a polygon pour - not hard but a little obscure made harder by some simple programming that should add another special case.
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