At 10:51 AM 5/12/2004, Mike Reagan wrote:

 [Protel Hell wrote:] 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

I was tempted to comment on the original post. First of all, a contest like Top Gun depends, as I recall, on a single design. A very competent designer may make a wrong turn early in a design and take substantially longer than normal. It can happen to anyone.

Further, the differences between CAD systems become less drastic in the hands of an experienced user (or salesman, for that matter). Some sytems are better for some kinds of design than others. If you want to do a 50-layer ceramic module, you are probably out of luck if you are using Protel, not enough layers. But if you want to do a design within Protel's range of efficiency, I'd venture that, other things being equal, a Protel designer does have a shot at completing the design fastest.

Other things are rarely equal, however.

"You get what you pay for" is a dangerous rule of thumb. There is no guarantee whatsoever that you will get more by paying more. Yes, *in general*, a quality tool will cost more than one that is less expensive. But "in general" does not mean "in every case." Sometimes what you get by spending more is more headache.

I've generally made the claim that, to really compare Protel with other tools, ask users who have become *expert* with both Protel and the other tool. *Also* ask relatively new users, from the latter you will learn something about how easy the tool is to learn, though you may be able to glean something about that yourself from a demo version. In the end, though, presumably one wants to become an expert user, and any tool in the hand of an expert user is better than most any tool in the hands of someone who is not an expert. It is laughable to see program reviews done by people who clearly were not familiar with the tool, so they will make gaffes like saying, "You can't do this in Tool X," or "It is clumsy and awkward to do this in Tool X," when, in fact, once one knows the program, one can not only do the thing but can do it quickly and efficiently.

On the other hand, if you are only going to use a tool occasionally, ease of use is going to be very important. An expert and frequent user may have at hand the shortcuts to drill through a whole host of menus to get to exactly what is easy. For them, it is a flash, for you, it may be *much* more work, just to find out how to do a thing, as you go down blind alleys, trying this or that only to find it doesn't do what you expected.

My worry about DXP is that, while it has clearly become a more powerful program (and thus faster in the hands of an expert user), it has also become less transparent, less intuitive, particularly for 99SE upgraders. I think this can be remedied; meanwhile it must be noted that many of the changes to DXP represent things we wanted as users. At the same time, certain fundamental ways that the program behaves were changed. Global Edits were available in 99SE by a very visible Global button at the bottom of almost every primitive edit screen. It was not at all difficult to find the command, and not at all difficult to use. Now, that button is gone. Instead there is another procedure. Once you know it, it *is* more powerful, but.... If you are faced with the program, knowing about 99SE Global Edits, you can scratch your head a long time without ever finding the command. The solution is to read *and practice* the relevant Knowledge Base items. When you are in the middle of a job, if you are so unfortunate as to have to learn DXP on the fly, in the middle of real work, this can be quite a burden....

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.

The contests are relevant when the contestants are balanced. So the contest might be relevant when comparing Mentor and Cadence, not very relevant outside that. And, yes, the cost of those programs is *much* higher than that of Protel, so it would not be surprising to find at least a small increase in productivity. Even a small increase, in a contest, can create a winner; to understand the meaning of any particular Top Gun contest, I'd want to look at the number of contestants using each program, as well as the differences in performance results. How did the average Mentor designer do, vs the average Cadence designer? And if the standard design is available, it might be possible for other CAD systems to hold their own investigation by holding, say, a Protel Top Designer contest *using the same design information.*

Such a contest could be held by the Protel User Association; certainly I'd be interested in the results. In fact, I'd like to participate (though I wouldn't expect to be a winner, my chops are a bit rusty.)

Is the Top Gun design source information available?

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