That’s not an easy question to answer. Too much depends on the kind of design, what other tools you’ll be using and what level of design expertise the user has with other tools. But asking the question is a good way to find out about some of the products we don’t often hear about.
Traditionally tools such as PADs, OrCAD and Tango were the the choice for those looking for inexpensive layout tools. Today it’s not such an easy choice. All of these tools were acquired by other EDA companies and have evolved over the years to the point that they are not necessarily entry level tools they once were.
So I decided it is time to do an updated list of the PCB layout tools on the market today. I’m collecting data on as many layout tools as I can find and will post some basic information on the website next week sometime. In the mean time, here is a list of the layout tools I know about.
Let me know if I’m missing anyone and I’ll add them to the list.
Allegro – Cadence Design Systems
Altium – (formerly Tango, Protel, PCAD)
AutoTrax – Kovac Software
Board Station – Mentor Graphics
CADStar – Zuken
CR-5000 – Zuken
Electronics Workbench – National Instruments
Easy PCB – Pulsonix?
Expedition – Mentor*
McCAD – Mac based OS
Osmond PCB – Mac OS
OrCAD – Cadence/EMA
PADs – Mentor Graphics
Pantheon – Intercept
PCB123 – (Proprietary to Sunstone Circuits)
ProCAD – Interactive CAD Systems
Ultiboard – National Instruments
WinQCA – Microcad
(Good catch, TraceRouter)