At this end of the workface I am not nearly as impressed with Altium. We "upgraded" to Altium from PCAD 2002 two years ago, and aspects of Altium are more primitive than 10 year old software (of PCAD). I am told that the board layout tool isn't quit as bad, but the schematic capture irritates- for instance the project title etc. that goes on a sheet title block has to be entered on every sheet individually and interconnection between sheets needs a completely new sheet to describe the sheet interconnections. The layout of the text on a symbol doesn't have nearly the same versatility as PCAD either. There are other issues, but because of teinvestment we are now stuck with it.
But the thing that gets me the most- Altium creates a log of bugs as they get reported and then asks users to vote for which should be tackled first.
My experience using Altium is very possitive.
Maybe other design environments may have more complete individual tools (for example for PCB layout), but the full picture is very impressive.
In the last project I used Altium, I captured the schematic, routed the PCB & implemented a 3D CAD model for integration with a custom plastic case.
I would like to remark the advantages of using the full integrated design environment: when I made a change in any design file, that change automatically was "propagated" to the others design components.
I not only widely accomplished the deadline, I made it in the first design try without any error... and Altium was the magic behind this success!!
I first used altium at uni (Protel back then) when we had CGA 320x200 monitors with 4 colours. We have been there through all the bizzare name changes (summer and winter editions with an Australian developed product aligned to northern hemisphere seasons??... what were you smoking marketing dept!) and the Altium 10 release that was a year late. We have 3 floating licences (which we paid $10k each for and the following year they halved the price!!!). Now I do really like Altium and I think it does what it intends very well but we didn't renew our mainainence 8 months ago. Why? I asked the sales staff for roadmap so I could justify it but they said there wasn't one. The product does 99% of what we need and they couldn't provide a compelling reason to stay.(Yes for bug fixes which in the past would cause daily crashes but they are fairly rare now). I do feel like I'm a tad disloyal to an old friend though!
We used Cadence schematic and PCB tools (Orcad) for a very long time, and when time came to evolve to Allegro PCB we decided to go to Altium instead, mainly due to the excellent PCB tool and the Altium Vault. All our design process includes very detailed Autocad Inventor mechanical design, and reasonably dense smt boards.
We were probably among the few dozens users of Altium Vault, and completely integrated component versioning, ERP management and alternative part numbers into our EDA process. That got us hooked.
HOWEVER, the integration of the Vault into AD10 is horrible, with dissimilar user interfaces and unnecessarily complex processes for each component. We have a love/hate relationship with Altium, but despite the many bugs and very poor and debatable "cloud based" architecture of the software, we today have 100% audit trail and ERP accountability on each and every component of our designs, a remarkable achievement.
But the pain is high, and they better work on the Vault integration and bug corrections, for the competition is catching on.
- Jonny Doin
I put my thoughts, curses and blessings as a recent new Altium user onto my Wordpress blog page - I did so having exceeded the 2000 word limit in this window. Here as "Altium Designer – ecadding by an mcadder" Shortlink below.
I think it's nice too see Iranian people take the beast Head,I want you to please think about your business in Iran,I wanted to buy Altium but they did not sell it to me,and because I love it and I do not have any option I stick to the crack!
Altium attempts to be all things to all engineers. So instead of concentrating on core competency -- schematics and PCB layout -- they've branched into FPGA synthesis and simulation and 8051 development. Which nobody wanted and nobody uses. Why? Because there's no need to use a PCB layout package to do VHDL simulation and synthesis. And there's no need to use a PCB layout package to do microcontroller firmware.
And then there's the vaults thing and their cloud initiative. They seem to forget that most companies have internal libraries with specific features (company-specific part numbers for BOMs, for example). And there's no need for DigiKey part numbers -- that's purchasing's job.
Obviously the needs of customers isn't very interesting to them ...
Hi everyone, great conversation here and thanks for the comments. We are always interested in hearing from users about what they like and what can be improved. In fact we have introduced a new way for users to provide feedback on AltiumLive, and how we incorporate that feedback into products. As part of the AltiumLive community, a system is available in which to submit and gather these suggestions – simply named Ideas. We’re excited about the future and making sure we’re focusing what our customers need.