Doesn't sound like you would qualify for TOP GUN either since you made the ill fated decision like the rest of us poor fools to use "PROTEL HELL" .
I use a combination of design tools, including ORCAD for schematic, ELECTRA and SPECCTRA for routing. BTW I also own a seat of PADS PowerPCB. What is neat, is that PROTEL does port to all of these , very easily. And yes without mistakes. (Except I do not trust DXP/2004 products)
I have no doubt that several designers on this forum including Mr. Wilson, Mr. Lomax, and a few others would give any competition a run for their money given the chance. These are very qualified people in my opinion......even if I don't agree with Ian (please take no offense)
I may know Protel reasonably well, but I don't see myself as an expert at PCB layout - competent more that expert. I don't think I have enough "recipes" for placement so I have to "work" the placement for longer than an expert PCB designer would. I get there but time is longer than someone dedicated to PCB layout. Placement is king in this game of course, so being fast at effective placement must be a very large part of these sorts of contests. Then the tools come into play. If you are manually routing against someone that has got a fast router who is going to have more time for the other stuff like documentation, etc. A powerful tool will count for a lot in these time limited contests. Is the price difference worth it? That is the difficult business decision - and in my experience many engineers/technicians/technical types are pretty bad at these sort of decisions. Also, how many of us have been in a position to really asses the *comparative* value of different products. Once you have one you are generally not going to also buy all the others. Sure, some people are using a mix of products and should be in a position to compare two or three.
There is a company (much reduced in size from the hey days) in Sydney that had both Protel and Mentor (Expedition??). Boards took so long to come out the dark mentor wizards room that the engineers were designing many of the boards (test and prototype mostly but some release stuff) them selves on Protel. So where was the value in the high end? There was no apparent speed up in PCB layout turn around but it is difficult to tell as the same boards were not designed side-by-side on the two products. Also personel work loads were different, and even the level of ownership of problems probably affected the situation.
No offence taken, BTW. So much of this is opinion and therefore subjective. I will "argue" over facts though - if someone says something can't be done and I find a way to do it I will take them on. If someone says something is harder than it should be, I may very well agree.
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