# What does it mean when one says that OrCad/Altium are more powerful than Eagle PCB

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#### matrixofdynamism

All OrCAD, Altium and Eagle are used for PCB design. All of them can be used to design multilayer boards using schematic and board layout. All of them can be used to design parts and create a library of parts also. What makes Eagle PCB less powerful than OrCAD or Altium?

#### Easyrider83

You can diassemble car with screwdriver only. But with wrench kit it could be more handly.

#### FvM

##### Super Moderator
Staff member
A "powerful" tool doesn't do engineer's work on it's own. And it also involves a certain learning curve. Means, if you want to do a standard 4-layer board without previously using the advanced tool, you might get the final result faster using a simple tool.

matrixofdynamism

### matrixofdynamism

Points: 2

#### matrixofdynamism

basically what I meant to find out is, what can OrCAD and Altium do which is harder with Eagle and what are things that are not possible with Eagle? Eagle after all is much cheaper then the other two options, yet is not used by professionals.

#### Dan Mills

Professionals care about tools being quick to use once they have learned them, cost is VERY secondary.

Consider that the ~£6,000 cost of Altium is probably less then a months employment cost for an engineer, if it makes that person 20% more productive, then it pays for itself in less then 6 months....

Lets see:
Rule driven design (This is a biggie, especially if the schematic and layout are being done by different people),
Rooms (draw it once and place multiple copies with component designators and net names updated automatically),
Diff pair routing with automatic length equalisation,
Net length matching generally - Massive once you get to try doing a DDR memory),
Easy to use BOM variants,
3D integration with mechanical CAD (NOT to be sneezed at),
Good ERC options,
Forward and Backward annotation that actually works (And does not have you when you forget to start BOTH packages before making changes).

Now I have not used eagle since V5, so it might now **** less then it did, but I am not looking back.

Regards, Dan.

matrixofdynamism

### matrixofdynamism

Points: 2

#### marce

The more pro packages such as Allegro (Orcad is a cut down Allegro) Cadstar etc. have much better routing engines (as well as the features Dan has mentioned) these also have high speed abilities allowing you to set layer stack and have controlled impedance routing.... When you get boards with a few thousand connections you will appreciate the more refined tools, they handle complex designs better have better tool options such as SIV (signal integrity verification), Power delivery system integrity checks...

#### Dan Mills

Yep, controlled impedance is a biggie, but I have never really been convinced by autorouting (Maybe it is just the sort of boards I do).

Push and shove and automatic bus routing however, are massive wins on the right sort of board.

SIV and PDN simulation can be a big win when edge rates become high and you start dealing with things like FPGAs where overshoot must be strictly controlled.

Marce, do you by any chance have a recommendation for a European prototype house that can do buried capacitance stackups? I am wanting to play with it a bit on some personal stuff to gain a bit of experience before designing it into product?

Regards, Dan.

#### KlausST

##### Super Moderator
Staff member
Hi,

Eagle after all is much cheaper then the other two options, yet is not used by professionals.

Where do you have this information?
I earn my money by desgining electronics. So I think Im a professional. And I use EAGLE.
And I know a lot of other professionals using EAGLE. Maybe EAGLE is more common in Germany than in other countries..

Maybe you should find some tutorials on different PCB layout software to find out wether it fits your needs...

Klaus

Sometimes it's not just the software that makes a company purchase it, it's the other things like the support & training that comes with it.
Can you get training in Eagle? (I don't mean using a forum for advice.)

Every PCB package has it's good & bad points, the bits that people find better than others.
It is not always the simple routing features that cause new users to veer towards the software, it's things like the ability to have varant designs, high speed diff pairs, impedance control, unlimited layer stackups and pins, signal integrity options etc.

#### marce

Dan my first port of call would be Wurth for really hi tech or Express Circuits, both who have provided excellent prototypes in the past (not the cheapest) but I wanted boards that were correct, been bitten by empty promises and cheap prices; the savings on the boards eaten up by the engineers time in trying to get the circuit to work only to find it was a duff board. I have had planar capacitance HDI boards from Wurth in the past that were excellent quality. We use Wrekin a lot now at work for run of the mill stuff, but have used quite a few others even China where cost is critical.

When I say routing tool I do NOT mean Autorouting, don't use autorouting never realty have done............ a good routing tool will change trace widths as you go from layer to layer to keep the same impedance etc.
Autorouting is a salesman's dream and a PCB designers nightmare...

- - - Updated - - -

Hi,

Where do you have this information?
I earn my money by desgining electronics. So I think Im a professional. And I use EAGLE.
And I know a lot of other professionals using EAGLE. Maybe EAGLE is more common in Germany than in other countries..

Maybe you should find some tutorials on different PCB layout software to find out wether it fits your needs...

Klaus

There are figures and reports produced yearly regarding the usage of CAD packages, Cadence, Zuken and Mentor are the top 3, followed by Altium. You can also get lists of which firms use what packages if you look... You can also use Dunn and Bradstreet or similar to look at the various company records, annual turnover profits etc. These facts are out there....

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matrixofdynamism

### matrixofdynamism

Points: 2

#### Dan Mills

Wurth are very good, but I didn't think they were a licensee for the planar capacitance substrates, I will gave Manchester a call.

They are my usual go to for HDI and difficult flexi rigid.

Agree that auto routers are a waste of time.

Regards, Dan.

#### marce

I am sure it was Wurth I used for a planar capacitance board, despite all the benefits most engineers would rather have hundreds of decoupling caps not doing a lot... it was 2013 when I did the job, I will try and find the data if I have it, it was done on the customers site. the other PCB place they used was Sanmina, but Wurth does ring a bell. Trouble is doing designs day after day you loose track of who is making what for what customer... its getting that bad I now sit in a corner with a dot to dot book when not at work:shock:

And quite often these days purchasing departments will totally take over supplier interaction and you don't know whos doing the boards or the assembly... till it goes wrong

matrixofdynamism

### matrixofdynamism

Points: 2

#### Bengineer

##### Junior Member level 1
It's hard to compare all these tools. I think each of them is good and even great for somebody. But you have to be sure that you're paying tons of money for the right thing.

Allegro and tools from Mentor and Zuken are incredible - it's a whole bunch of features and tools for proper design of VERY complex boards, I think there is a big learning curve with them.
Altium is still very good: I like the bus routing tools, simple Diff pair routing and very cool interactive routing modes.
EAGLE's Diff Pair routing is a mess, just like its command prompt interface.
DipTrace looks kind of cool comparing to EAGLE, but their Diff Pair routing is not yet ready, but supposed to be in Beta test soon (I hope it's gonna be better than EAGLE's).
Anyway... There are a lot of professionals working in DipTrace and EAGLE, and there are newbies and hobbyists with Altium it depends on what they need and what they are ready to pay))).

matrixofdynamism

Points: 2