Jerry,

I have to agree with John that you may be seeking something that doesn't
exist.

So I would make a list of all the features you want in a CAD suite package. 

Then take the list to:

1. Altium - Protel DXP
2. PADS-PowerPCB
3. Mentor Expedition (last choice for me)

I would not bother with Cadence, Electronics Workbench or Zuken. 

And then there's Intercept Technologies, Inc - Pantheon but that's another
story.

Tom H
 

-----Original Message-----
From: John A. Ross [RSDTV] [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] 
Sent: Sunday, June 27, 2004 2:04 PM
To: 'Protel EDA Forum'
Subject: Re: [PEDA] Recommendations please! -- DXP2004 - PADS - Expedition

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Symanski, Jerry SPAWAR [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] 
> Sent: Sunday, June 27, 2004 9:08 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.

Jerry

Do not envy you this task :-)
  
> 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 think you are looking for something that does not exist. IMO all you can
hope for is a best fit
for the majority of tasks and a good interface to the other tools you need
to get the job done.

I would not IMO say that any of the 3 are a complete solution for all
aspects of the design cycle.
  
> 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.

You are spreading across quite an expanse of $$$$$$ here, in fact for 20
seats, it is a petty major
gap if you are going to enable full seats for everyone.

I do not think you need any advice on Protel if you already use it. 
For multi user environments I am having serious trouble getting DXP2004
integrated within our
internal QA system and ISO without bogging everyone down with un-needed
caveats and gotcha notices
that need to interfere with a natural flow, something as simple as Save or
Save as can produce quite
different things at project tree level. 
This overhead is purely a result of the current way in which files are
handled within a project and
the risk to design integrity through improper following of critical
procedures and no redundancy for
the integration of remedial loops to make corrective actions (project
rebuild). I have been
preparing some idea of mine on this but its not ready yet, perhaps I need to
get moving before 2005
is released :-) 

But I would give your Mentor rep a bit of a commitment test up front as you
will be paying major $$$
each year for as long as you own the tools, ask them to come in to your
site, and survey/recommend
tools based on your needs and specifically ask about training. 
They can tailor a license package for you so you do not need full suites on
everyone's desk at same
time. For 20 seats of any combination that should be worth their while. If
they will not do this
much for you, well, Cadence is worth a call too......

I only use Protel and Pads here, but I work with colleagues in Spain who
have nearly 70 people in
R&D and the whole dept use Mentor productions from end-end. However they do
have a warning, they do
not speak highly of Mentor support, they prefer to invest in Mentor training
for their engineers and
then handle product training and support in house. You can draw from that
what you will...

Sorry for the ramblings....

John










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