PCB design gains impedance-controlled routing

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Edited by the Electronicstalk editorial team Dec 24, 2002

The release of Service Pack 2 adds the full host of nVisage multidimensional design capture capabilities to Protel DXP as well as significant improvements to the corresponding PCB design capabilities.

The release of Service Pack 2 adds the full host of nVisage multidimensional design capture capabilities to Protel DXP as well as significant improvements to the corresponding PCB design capabilities.

This constitutes a major update to the entire end-to-end product with more than 70 enhancements.

"This service pack significantly upgrades the capabilities of Protel DXP, making it the most comprehensive and versatile board-level design system available", says Nick Martin, Joint CEO and founder of Altium.

"By bringing the capture capabilities of Protel DXP up to the level of the newly released nVisage DXP, Protel designers can work seamlessly with nVisage engineers and gain the benefits of full project-level synchronisation throughout all stages of design.

Protel DXP is now easier to use, more productive and able to handle a wider scope of design possibilities".

One of the major enhancements Service Pack 2 brings to Protel DXP is interactive impedance-controlled routing and more efficient pre and post layout signal integrity analysis - making it easier for designers to avoid signal integrity problems.

The process of running signal integrity analysis prior to board layout has been streamlined to require only the input of the required characteristic trace impedance, and the PCB editor now includes a rule type that takes the desired impedance as input and automatically calculates appropriate track widths as the designer routes.

Impedance-controlled routing makes it easy for a designer to maintain optimum signal integrity conditions during board design and minimises time-consuming post-layout changes.

Service Pack 2 upgrades Protel's VHDL design capabilities to fully support mixed schematic and VHDL design entry with the addition of VHDL simulation and synthesis.

The new VHDL simulator includes an easy-to-interpret multi-waveform viewer, and supports the back-annotations of timing data from FPGA place-and-route tools.

The inclusion of RTL-level VHDL synthesis for multiple FPGA architectures allows Protel DXP to offer complete support for PCB and FPGA design within a single application.

The synthesis engine includes advanced features such as module generation, hierarchical synthesis, automatic I/O insertion and macrocell inference - features traditionally only found in expensive FPGA synthesis tools.

Service Pack 2 makes it easier for designers to synchronise their design projects with their company's component inventories with the inclusion of significantly enhanced database linking capabilities and improved bill of materials (BoM) generation.

Designers can link user-definable component parameters with any database that supports open database connectivity (ODBC), making it possible to automatically update information from company stock records.

This information can then be included in Protel DXP's new and highly configurable BoM generator to produce accurate parts tables for ordering and assembly.

Document crossprobing has been enhanced with Service Pack 2 to make project navigation easier.

Designers can now crossprobe from navigational panels to corresponding objects in both the PCB and schematic simultaneously.

Service Pack 2 also delivers full bidirectional Orcad file translation features to Protel DXP.

Both Orcad schematic and library file formats can be imported and exported with a high degree of accuracy, making translation of legacy files easy.

Orcad Layout PCB files can also now be imported directly into Protel DXP.

Although Service Pack 2 significantly updates the capabilities of Protel DXP, and brings a host of new and enhanced features, the current pricing level has been maintained.

New licences are US $7995 and upgrades start from US $1995.

In keeping with Altium policy, Service Pack 2 for Protel DXP is available free of charge to all Protel DXP users, and is available for download from the Protel website.

Details of the new features and enhancements included in the service pack are also available on the Protel website at www.protel.com.

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