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Designing next-gen PCBs with Allegro

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CIOL Bureau
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Pradeep Chakraborty

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BANGALORE: Cadence is offering the Allegro next-generation PCB design, which aims to enhanced the productivity for such next-generation PCB designs.

According to Steve Kamin, Group Director, Cadence's Allegro systems division, Cadence has released the Allegro 16.0 and OrCAD 16.0, respectively. “We are releasing new products in these two product lines. We are also releasing enhancements. “

According to him, customers face constraints such as higher frequency, power consumption, pin counts, packages, etc. The PCB designers also face challenges such as decreasing hole sizes, hole diameter, etc.

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Features of the Allegro include GUI modernization, context sensitive editing paradigm, color and visibility improvements, integration of physical and spacing constraints into the Constraint Manager, and an interactive planning and global routing, respectively.

In a PCB design flow, Cadence has focused on usability and productivity. The Allegro has a modernized GUI. All of the tool bars have been completely refreshed. Cadence has also added foldaway windows.

Kamin said: “We have added context-sensitive editing. We have included an open GL graphics engine that improves the visibility of objects and components on a board. This release can handle all sorts of intricate designs.”

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”We have also sought to address the physical and spacing constraints. This facility has been included that into our Constraint Manager. This is a cockpit, a spreadsheet-based tool, which manages all of the properties.”

Cadence is selling this solution to OEMs, ODMs, PCB design services companies, etc. It sells through channel partner networks and distributors. Customers can range from being very small to very big.

Further, the Allegro solution has an interactive planning and global routing facility. Kamin added: “We are the only company to provide a flexible solution for PCB design. Our GXL is the most powerful Allegro product.”

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Cadence has also added an entry-level product in the OrCAD PCB Designer Basics. “We added two new products. So, if customers start from a low-end product, they can easily move on to the high-end. You don't need to learn the basics all over again,” he noted.

The GRE is a new, next-generation technology, which has two new elements -- the interactive flow planner and the Global Route Environment.

The GRE cuts to 1-2 iteration of routing. Customers can control the direction of the routes. Kamin said: “Customers have sometimes told us that they had to kill the design as they could not control the routing or it was not possible. Hence, this is a very high-end design. It saves significant time, from 15 months to about three months. We work with partners such as Motorola, Sun and NVIDIA to understand the design issues.”

Allegro facilitates an improved design creation and simulation as well. The Allegro System Architect has differential pairs support and improved schematic generation. Other features include physical and spacing constraints in Allegro Design Entry HDL, performance and convergence improvements in Cadence Pspice and Allegro AMS Simulator, etc. Cadence has improved the automatic schematic generator. Also, in the analog simulation product line, it has added the automated convergence capability.

Finally, the company has added Cadence Help across all of its products. This allows cross-linking across all Cadence's tools. Customers can also add their own content. Cadence integrates third-party thermal integration tools into the products. Allegro is the most significant PCB release in many years for Cadence. It focuses on productivity, usability, and quality of results.

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