+ Post New Thread
Results 1 to 11 of 11
  1. #1
    Advanced Member level 2
    Points: 3,764, Level: 14

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    547
    Helped
    91 / 91
    Points
    3,764
    Level
    14

    Trying to compare router efficiency in various packages

    What I want to do -

    I want to compare router completion and speeds in various low cost (around 500 euro) packages.

    Most packages provide a demo version (I have tried vutrax,eagle,easyCad,diptrace etc) which is great - but they all have very different perfomance and completions.

    The problem is - while they claim to offer various import/export formats the schematic demo's do not match - ie some do Orcad - others are proprietory and others dont even export or include a generic format at all.

    Has anyone ever managed to do any comparisons?

    (Also if there is anything really bad I should watch out for in any I would welcome the feedback - eg need to spend more to get it to be useful etc)

    thank you

    •   AltAdvertisement

        
       

  2. #2
    Super Moderator
    Points: 50,045, Level: 54
    Achievements:
    7 years registered
    keith1200rs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Yorkshire, UK
    Posts
    10,877
    Helped
    2075 / 2075
    Points
    50,045
    Level
    54

    Trying to compare router efficiency in various packages

    I hardly ever use autorouters, but my experience is that they take a bit of time and experience to set up to get the best out of them. So, your task is going to require quite a bit of time learning in each case to avoid drawing false conclusions.

    Keith.
    I started life with nothing and I've still got most of it left. (Seasick Steve)



  3. #3
    Full Member level 4
    Points: 5,152, Level: 17

    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    201
    Helped
    24 / 24
    Points
    5,152
    Level
    17

    Trying to compare router efficiency in various packages

    Hmm... 500 Euros... The current conversion is about 669.00 Dollars right?
    You are exactly right about the issues with the tools you have mentioned. Quite honestly you are not going to find a decent layout/capture tool for that amount of money. While they will pretty much do the job at first you will find they are not portable to other cad platforms for the most part and will always be limited in capability. If I were limited in funds and needed to spring for a layout tool I would look into Altium Designer. It is hands down the best bang for the buck period. This tool is portable to other platforms and should cover your needs for quite some time. Altium will supply a 30 day demo and even work with you on the cost.

    Eda


    1 members found this post helpful.

    •   AltAdvertisement

        
       

  4. #4
    Advanced Member level 2
    Points: 3,764, Level: 14

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    547
    Helped
    91 / 91
    Points
    3,764
    Level
    14

    Re: Trying to compare router efficiency in various packages

    Thanks for the replies.

    I had hoped someone (maybe a magazine somewhere) had created a set of test layouts that could be imported into various packages to test them.

    Just one fairly complex 2 layer layout used on each could propbably produce enough data to make a reasonable assesment I would think.

    Its a shame no one has done this.

    I'll look into the Altium suggestion but I only expect to need 1K holes/pads on
    2 layers for most things. I'm not building very complex stuff.

    Hence I'm more interested in efficiency, ease of use/learning and importantly
    the standard libraries already provided.

    Most packages seem pretty poor to me in all respects and some very much worse than others. I'm guessing most were originally designed(?) by enthusiastic amateurs rather than software engineers.



  5. #5
    Super Moderator
    Points: 50,045, Level: 54
    Achievements:
    7 years registered
    keith1200rs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Yorkshire, UK
    Posts
    10,877
    Helped
    2075 / 2075
    Points
    50,045
    Level
    54

    Trying to compare router efficiency in various packages

    Altium is expensive. You can get very good packages for well under 1000 Euros without any pin limits. The more expensive ones aren't any easier to learn - in fact in my experience it is the opposite. However, they all have a learning curve even in you have used a couple of other packages first.

    Keith.
    I started life with nothing and I've still got most of it left. (Seasick Steve)



    •   AltAdvertisement

        
       

  6. #6
    Advanced Member level 2
    Points: 3,764, Level: 14

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    547
    Helped
    91 / 91
    Points
    3,764
    Level
    14

    Re: Trying to compare router efficiency in various packages

    Yes I agree about the learning curve but some are so bad I'd go so far as to
    call them totally unacceptable. Others are just medieval in approach.

    I did look at Altium but ruled it out on the basis of a total lack of information
    on probably the worst set of web pages I've seen. Even downloading their
    PDF's provided no information about the capabilities offered much less any prices.
    I can only hope their product is better than their documentation.

    I've bought a package now but can say I'm very unimpressed with the ludite attitude of the industry.

    Having companies by the short and curlies seems to have inbred a serious arrogance in some quarters too.


    jack



  7. #7
    Super Moderator
    Points: 50,045, Level: 54
    Achievements:
    7 years registered
    keith1200rs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Yorkshire, UK
    Posts
    10,877
    Helped
    2075 / 2075
    Points
    50,045
    Level
    54

    Trying to compare router efficiency in various packages

    Which one did you buy, out of interest?

    I think one of the problems with PCB software is it has tried to grow as technology has changed whereas a good good re-write wouldn't go amiss. I use Eagle which I quite like, but that has a weird interface which betrays it's DOS roots.

    Keith.
    I started life with nothing and I've still got most of it left. (Seasick Steve)



  8. #8
    Full Member level 4
    Points: 5,152, Level: 17

    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    201
    Helped
    24 / 24
    Points
    5,152
    Level
    17

    Trying to compare router efficiency in various packages

    Yes, trying to get a price from many of the more mainstream tools without having to contact a sales rep is not an easy task. My suggestion of taking a look at Altium was based on the initial post of two parameters: Cost and portability between platforms.
    As far as doing comparisons, I guess you could say I have done quite a bit of that over the years. The list of layout tools I have used over the years is extensive. Most users on this forum can say the same I am sure. From your latest post I see you have made a decision on layout tool. I would be interested as well to know which on you purchased. Also, I am wondering why you did not at least download the 30 day demo from altium.
    ....Man, I am starting to sound like a rep for Altium....

    Regards,
    Eda



  9. #9
    Super Moderator
    Points: 50,045, Level: 54
    Achievements:
    7 years registered
    keith1200rs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Yorkshire, UK
    Posts
    10,877
    Helped
    2075 / 2075
    Points
    50,045
    Level
    54

    Re: Trying to compare router efficiency in various packages

    Quote Originally Posted by edaedaeda
    Yes, trying to get a price from many of the more mainstream tools without having to contact a sales rep is not an easy task.
    Not only that, I have had quotes from companies for software which they say are confidential - they don't want you to find out that someone else is paying less for it or vice versa. Quite a few equipment quotations are given confidentially as well. At least Agilent and Tektronix have become a bit more open about pricing over the years.

    Keith.



    •   AltAdvertisement

        
       

  10. #10
    Advanced Member level 2
    Points: 3,764, Level: 14

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    547
    Helped
    91 / 91
    Points
    3,764
    Level
    14

    Re: Trying to compare router efficiency in various packages

    Hi

    The problem with downloading altium's demo was the file size if I remember rightly.
    (I tried so many!) Unfortunately I'm not able to install broadband here so anything
    above about 100MB can be a problem. I've downloaded larger but only from sites than can restart a failed download. Altiums web pages were also a serious off-putting sight.

    Actually I'm very pleased with the package I eventually bought into.
    I bought easy-PC (numberone.com)
    As an entry level system it's unbeatable from what I've seen.
    Priced at under 300 GBP for the entry level 1000 pin version and
    all the features you'd expect on the more expensive systems.
    It even includes 3D visualisation.

    It can be easily upgraded with better autorouter and much larger library
    (probably the entry level main weakness - shortage of components - but the library software is very good so defining your own isn't too hard)
    If anyone buys into this and wants to share custom libraries let me know.
    The ease of modular upgrade was a big selling point to me.
    Right now 1000 pins is fine for me - but who knows. Luckily layers
    are unlimited too.

    Presentation is very professional and comes with a ring bound easy to read manual. It doesn't assume too much knowledge to start with but does assume some basic skills - it was about right for me. Delivery took 2 days. After using it for a couple of days I'm confident I can go from concept to manufactured product with this package.

    If anyone is interested their demo is well worth a look. I can't speak highly enough
    at this this level. (Of course - you may want to ask again after I've tried to manufacture my first design !)
    :D

    On the pricing front - I recently bought some software at 80% discount after telling the salesman it was too expensive for me. Sometimes being able to negotiate isn't a bad thing. I now have some very useful design software and a loyalty to the company for future purchases. Perhaps if companies varied their prices based on the size or turnover of the customer they could be a bit more upfront about it.



  11. #11
    Super Moderator
    Points: 50,045, Level: 54
    Achievements:
    7 years registered
    keith1200rs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Yorkshire, UK
    Posts
    10,877
    Helped
    2075 / 2075
    Points
    50,045
    Level
    54

    Trying to compare router efficiency in various packages

    I haven't used it for years, but I seem to remember Easy-PC was designed by engineers, which is probably why you like it!

    Keith
    I started life with nothing and I've still got most of it left. (Seasick Steve)



--[[ ]]--