I'm not entirely certain that I'm not missing some context here, but, for the record:

At 04:27 AM 5/15/2004, Mira wrote:
[re PCAD] Wires? Oh, that's one of the coolest things. You can
just place the components pin to pin and they are

This is also true for Protel. In 99SE, place two pins in hot spot contact, they are connected. Drag one of them, a wire is created. I think this was true before Protel bought PCAD.

 Net name is automatically assigned but you
can change it anytime.


 The 2-pin components
(resistors, capacitors) can be placed on top of a wire
and PCAD automatically assigns two different net names
on both sides.

DXP does this if "components cut wires" is checked.

 You can add width & clearance
attributes to the nets and they'll be loaded in the
PCB, which saves much time to explain or write
guidelines to the layout person.

Protel's done this for a while with Directives.

 Components can be grouped in the schematic and then
you can simply move the components by groups and place
them closer.

These are called Rooms in Protel.

PCAD2002 Design manager gives you all information
about the components and nets in the design. You can
easily locate the component in the Design manager and
just move it to the position you'd like on the PCB.

Protel, it's the Panel.

Manual routing is not that bad but if you have to
modify it, it sucks.

That's too bad if true (and I'd expect it to be true, coming from Mira). Changing manual routing in Protel, since Loop Removal was added (Protel 99?) has been about as easy as I could imagine. Usually it simply amounts to placing the new route, the old one is automatically ripped up.

I think there are things the PCAD does that Protel does not do, and PCAD has certain flexibilities that may be missing in Protel, but Mira didn't list them here.....

PCAD has export to Specctra as all other CAD tools.

A "good" PCB designer for me is one who can do the job
as fast as possible and as good as possible, using any
kind of CAD tool but NOT auto-routing.

Good, but not best. The best designer can do fast manual routing and can also use the autorouter *where appropriate* for even faster routing.

I used to work for a design bureau and I'm familiar
with that kind of thinking - just sprinkle the
components inside the board outline, do the fanout,
run Specctra and get the money.
That's not for me. I do care what kind of designs I'm

I certainly care as well; however, the customer is paying for our work. Good manual routing is almost always prettier and may even be more functional in some respects (i.e., lower noise), but the question is the cost. A good designer considers the cost to the customer. It is questionable design practice to go for pretty at substantial cost to the customer. Some design conditions are appropriate for autorouting. However, the cost to the customer should generally be lower. To charge a customer the same pin rate for manually routed work and autorouted work would generally be to charge unfairly.

If I think autorouting is reasonable for a job, I'll consult with the customer....

On the other hand, if an autorouter is good enough that the quality of the work is indistinguishable from good manual routing, then perhaps it is worth as much (more likely, however, the arising of that situation will represent a devaluation of manual routing labor, unless this imaginary fantastic router is *really* expensive.)

I don't have first-hand experience with high-end autorouters. I did purchase Specctra routing once, it was garbage. But, to be fair to Specctra, it was garbage because the designer driving the program configured it incorrectly, choosing absolutely the wrong layer bias, given preroutes. (Unless Specctra chose the bias, which would strike me as unlikely; more likely, some standard setup had been used without thought.)

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