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Erik Larson writes about the job market, resume improvement, and career advice

Features for PCB Layout Software Comparison

Written by Erik Larson, Community Blogger | Jul 25, 2017 2:28 AM

Before picking out any PCB design software, it is very important to find out if it does the job it is meant for. It has to have the ability to support all the necessary designed features of the board. It is also very important to make sure that all the features of the PCB can easily be changed or customized to go with what you need. Choosing wrong components for a PCB software layout can create extensive problems in the functionality of the board. Listed below, are some of the most important features for PCB layout software comparison

The board size of the PCB you choose must have enough space for your circuit. Choosing a smaller board than what your entire circuit can hold will lead to many problems.

All the timing parameters must work well. These are related parameters like setup and hold time margins and the frequency.

If you are using complex devices like the CPU or DSP, make sure the performance of the software can hold up to the complex nature of those devices.

All the PCB layout software must meet the required standards of compliance. Different components have their own specific standards. Whatever layout you choose must have met its own specific requirements

When selecting the PCB layout, consider its future roadmap. For example, can it do more than it does now in the future? If it cannot, select one with enough memory and space for expansion or for holding more work.

Take into consideration the Power dissipation while selecting the board. If the board requires a certain maximum amount of watts of power dissipation, do not select a processor that dissipates half of the maximum because a device like a CPU consumes 50% of the total power.

To get enough margins for noise, the alignment of the logic levels of the interface should be aligned well.

The PCB layout component should support an ambient range of temperature as is required for the product. If the software does not come with any temperature requirements, it is good to compare and calculate the temperatures of the component with the junction temperatures of what is allowed.

The number of layers a board has is a very important factor to consider. A number of tools used may limit the number of layers used on a board. Finding out how many layers you will use will also give you an idea of what kind of PCB software to go for. For example if a board requires many layers, the best option would be to go for a professional PCB design software.

Find a program that can easily run the PDNA (Power Delivery Network Analysis)

Design a board that can easily route your traces. A few cheap programs can easily be routed manually but they may not give you the best results if you need to find the best paths.

A PCB design software that can do all your work in one station will be of better help than choosing different PCB software for different jobs.

Buy a software that you can easily customize. This means you can change it to suit your needs or the work you have.


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