Thanks for the kind words Mike, however I must clear up the record... My
foray into the TOP GUN competition did not result in my getting the coveted
flight jacket, but I did use the tool (99SE) successfully in competition. It
was an honor in itself to get the invitation to compete, they do not choose
contestants lightly, all were seasoned veterans of the PCB industry. 

The contest involved a multilayer, mixed signal, matched impedance
differential pair, board layout of a Video Processor circuit on a PCI card
and we had 16 hours to complete it. (The board design changes each year so
don't think you can study up on video processors and get an edge....) Of the
nine participants only 2 are chosen to receive the jackets.  Both winners
were using the Veribest tool. I was the only Protel user. (Obviously the
Protel Router didn't help me much...) I had to hand route many of the
lines...  That would explain why I didn't place higher or actually win
because it slowed me down. 

Mentor bought Veribest very shortly after that competition and Mentor did
not participate in the CAD tool benchmark contest that year. Cadence won
that year. It was March of 2000. 

The 2 hall of fame inductees were Rick Dachauer, RockSolid Design, Mountain
View, CA and Wayne Pulliam, AMD, Round Rock, TX... Both Mentor users now.

But I must say I was in there with some very experienced designers that all
tried very hard to win the competiton. It seems the Veribest router made all
the difference in this case. I believe that the cad tools represented there
in the TOP GUN contest were Protel, ORCAD, PCAD, PADS, and Veribest.

By the way, Mentor now owns PADS too... it's now their low end tool. Your
assessment of the money that's gets thrown at the problem is pretty accurate
however. They do have deep pockets, and their customers pay up to the tune
of about 40K a seat and very high maintenance and training costs. 

I do not know if any other designer besides myself has attempted the TOP GUN
competition with Protel again. I can tell you though, in my opinion, the
Situs router would really need to improve to be able to compete with the
other tools that are available now. 

The concept of the 'TOP GUN' is more targeted towards service bureau
abilities. FAST, ACCURATE, and ON TIME. This is the goal of the TOP GUN and
if you hope to have a chance at getting the flight jacket, you need to be
'FLYING' a very fast, capable tool.

I was greatly honored to compete against the guys that put it all on the
line there and I was told I have an open invitation to come back and compete
again at any time which I may do again if this PCB design program ever
matures.

In the mean time, it gets my work done and for that, I cannot complain.


All the best, 

Bill Brooks 
PCB Design Engineer , C.I.D., C.I.I.
Tel: (760)597-1500 Ext 3772 Fax: (760)597-1510

-----Original Message-----
From: Mike Reagan [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] 
Sent: Wednesday, May 12, 2004 7:51 AM
To: 'Protel EDA Forum'
Subject: Re: [PEDA] Protel TOP GUN

 has anyone ever made PCD magazine
Top Gun using Protel (anything) that should tell you allot since the people
that compete for this are all experienced designers, the only difference
really is the tool.

you get what you pay for, when buying CAD you should spend what you can
afford, there is no free lunch, if there was the  more expensive ones could
not exist



TA  TA TA,  wrong assumption

Mr Brooks who frequents this forum has slain the Mentor TOP GUNS.  Has it
ever occurred to you that Cadence and  Mentor simply throw more money and
resources at this contest.  Thus stackiing the deck with Mentor users.
You havent seen a PADs user compete or win in the past few years.....why
because PADS went belly up.

Mike Reagan




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