P-CAD has several  methods of manual and interactive routing.  Manual allows
you to violate design rules but has its place for special problems.
Interactive obeys design rules, has loop removal, auto-starts and
auto-completes traces (from and to pad centers), has various hugging
strategies, support push-and-shove of other traces, and is very fast for an
assisted manual tool.  P-CAD's shape based autorouter sucks for anything
except trivial designs.

Jeff Condit

----- Original Message -----
From: "Abd ul-Rahman Lomax" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: "Protel EDA Forum" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Sent: Sunday, May 16, 2004 1:31 PM
Subject: Re: [PEDA] OT: Mentor PADS comparison

> 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
> >connected.
> 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.
> Ditto.
> >  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
> >delivering.
> 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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