Jerry,

I can relate with your dilemma, but I'm not accustomed to discussing
alternate CAD tools on a specialized listserver. But it sounds that you need
a little help with your situation. 

Protel is a great CAD tool for doing most PCB design work, but your design
compexity our your companies management complexity can sometimes surpass
Protel's limitations. I know of a lot of people who are very happy and proud
with their Protel system, but they are in a nitch where the Protel system
works good for them.

Tip - if you go directly to Mentor, they will not mention PADS, but will
focus only on their Expedition tools. They will not even tell you that PADS
exists. In order to get any information about PADS you must speak to a PADS
reseller (who work outside the Mentor organization). 

I personally believe that PADS is the midway point between Protel and
Expedtion. 

If your designs are extremely complex with 20,000 pins +, blind and buried
vias, buried resistors, laser holes in fine pitch BGA's and require
elaborate simulation for signal integrity then Expedition is your solution.
Warning, Expedition has a steep price tag and a long painful learning curve.

But when your complexity goes beyond the Protel system and all you need is a
fully integrated system that is fully scalable (you add features and tools
on an "As Needed" basis" then buying Expedition is like swating a fly with a
bazooka. 

I'm can't go into great detail, but find your local PADS representative and
have them come and show you their complete integrated "DX Designer" system.
A demo is completely free and it's well worth it. 

One last word on CAD demo's. Do not let the CAD vendor demonstrate their
products using their canned demo. Every CAD vendor has a canned demo that is
custom tailored to make their CAD tool perform at optimum levels. Use one of
your designs to see the complete range of features that each vendor has. Get
quotes from all of them and compare the numbers with the features you need
and it should become very obvious which tool is the best for your team. 

Also, PADS will soon (September / October) have a complete Protel translator
so you can move all your legacy work directly over to PADS.  

Tom H


-----Original Message-----
From: Symanski, Jerry SPAWAR [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] 
Sent: Sunday, June 27, 2004 1:08 PM
To: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Subject: [PEDA] Recommendations please! -- DXP2004 - PADS - Expedition

Gentlemen, I am currently involved in the all too familiar task of
choosing an EDA tool for our group.
 
Our group consists of about 20 engineers. We do small, low power high
density systems consisting of analog and digital components.  We cover
the full spectrum from algorithms through design, fabrication,
packaging, programming, testing, documentation and user interfaces.
 
The group has used Protel for many years but now finds ourselves in need
of a complete, full spectrum EDA suite.
 
I am interested in comments, comparisons, recommendations, etc., from
anyone who has experience in using at least two of the latest versions
of Expedition, PADS and Protel suites.
 
TIA for your valuable time!
 
jjs







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