Altium, a developer of Windows-based electronics design software, has released P-CAD 2004, Altium's PCB design system for layout professionals. Offering over 50 new and enhanced features, the company says this version offers upgraded technologies for layout and automatic and interactive routing, improved support for CAM file editing and circuit simulation, as well as a host of enhancements designed to give greater power and control over the PCB design process.
Building on the strengths of previous P-CAD versions, new technologies include a powerful new interactive Advanced Route tool that significantly enhances the interactive routing process and allows users to automatically plough around board objects. Advanced Route enables designers to start routing from any net object, regardless of grid or connection line position. Designers can choose to hug the routing around existing objects, plough around copper pours, board edges, cutouts and keepouts, as well as move existing traces and vias. Designers also have complete control over all interactive routing features, including the level of 'glossing' or trace cleanup the tool attempts during interactive routing.
Altium's second-generation Situs Topological Autorouter boosts routing productivity even further, says the company. It integrates seamlessly with the P-CAD PCB editor and features topological path mapping to improve completion rates on complex boards. The Situs Topical Autorouter offers native routing support for non-orthogonal geometries, such as those found with high-density BGA devices and rotated components. Unlike traditional shape-based routers, Situs searches directly for routing paths in non-orthogonal directions. The router then chooses paths more intelligently, and makes better use of routing real estate on dense board designs.
Other key features of the P-CAD 2004 release is the inclusion, as standard, of Altium's CAMtastic 2004 CAM file editor, which provides complete editing of manufacturing file data prior to sending the board for fabrication, as well as enhanced SPICE 3f5/XSpice mixed-signal circuit simulation. P-CAD's supplied board-level component libraries have also been overhauled for the new release.
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