SAN JOSE, Calif. " In an effort to lure pc-board designers away from rival Cadence Design Systems Inc., Mentor Graphics Corp. this week will announce the integration of its Expedition pcb design flow with Cadence's Allegro pc-board design environment.
With this release, Mentor said it has made Expedition PCB compatible with Cadence's Allegro libraries and database. Allegro users can transfer current and legacy pc-board design projects directly into Mentor's Expedition Series PCB design environment, said John Isaac, director of market development with the PCB division of Mentor Graphics (Wilsonville, Ore.). That way, they can take advantage of Expedition's AutoActive automatic- and interactive-routing capabilities and its concurrent-team layout technology, TeamPCB.
"We do hope, of course, to woo customers away from Allegro," said Isaac. "Like Mentor customers, Allegro customers have huge investments in libraries, design data and infrastructure, etc. The way to woo customers away from Cadence is to coexist in their environment, let customers see the benefits of our technology, and maybe over time they will start to use our solutions more and more. We hope, of course, that they will eventually consider switching to an all-Mentor environment."
Isaac said Expedition PCB adheres to rules defined in the Allegro Constraint Manager and has advanced capabilities for HDI/microvia and buildup technology, as well as high-speed routing capabilities, including tuned differential pairs, crosstalk, net scheduling, virtual pins, timing and impedance.
The link between Allegro and Expedition is limited, however, Isaac said. Allegro users can export their designs into Expedition to use its autorouter capabilities and then return to Allegro to complete their design. But if designers want to take advantage of any other Expedition features, such as TeamPCB, they must complete their design in the Expedition environment.
Mentor previously offered a standalone autorouter called Destiny for Allegro customers. That tool had only a bidirectional link and did not include in-depth support for Allegro libraries and its database. And it lacked some of the advanced features found in latest version of AutoActive, such as its ability to create microvias and embedded passives, among other advanced high-speed routing capabilities, Isaac said.
Allegro users who choose to complete their designs with Expedition can also use Mentor's recently announced TeamPCB feature, which lets users in disparate geographic locations collaborate on routing a given design project, Isaac said.
Besides Expedition, Mentor's DxDesigner design entry and HyperLynx signal integrity point tools can be used in the Cadence Allegro environment. Expedition sells for $27,000 per year.