Compare Altium Designer® vs. OrCAD®
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Provides advanced product design, collaboration, and PCB design tools required by large teams or professionals designing complex devices, yet easy to use for new designers and students.
Schematic sheet limits
Hierarchical schematic capture with integrated analog mixed-signal simulation
Built-in SPICE simulator with model library and migration support for LTSpice/PSpice
Board size limits
100 in. by 100 in.
40 in. by 30 in.
Signal and plane layer limits
32 signal + 16 plane + unlimited mechanical
200 layers total, license level limits the size of your board workspace and layer count
Rules-driven design for modern PCB (HDI, Rigid-flex, and Multiboard)
Advanced interactive routing features with built-in signal integrity tools
High speed design and rigid-flex design features included in standard license
Variant management tools for complex projects
Realistic layer stacks and a modern field solver for accurate impedances
Parts placement and routing in 3D
Photo-realistic 3D viewer with real-time clearance checking
Visual DC power distribution analysis in the PCB layout
Requires additional Power Analyzer license
Requires additional Cadence product (Sigrity OprimizePI)
Library Management & Sourcing
Built-in BOM management with real-time supply chain
Unified libraries with symbols, footprints, simulation models, and distributor links
Access to models, parameters, and lifecycle data for millions of components
Requires additional Cadence product
Management of lifecycles, in-design validation, templates, and where-used for libraries
Advanced component data from IHS Markit®
Library health dashboard to monitor validity, quality, and risk issues
Outputs & Manufacturing
Built-in fabrication and assembly drawing generation tools
Intuitive interface for manufacturing output creation
Quickly generate ECOs, reports, and documentation
Customizable document templates for drawings
Centralized management for manufacturing packages and communications
Share and view Gerbers, ODB++ files, and assembly steps in a browser
Support for multi-board systems and assemblies
Multi-board 3D product viewer from any web browser
Multi-board mechanical integration for SOLIDWORKS® 2020, 2021, and 2022
Built-in harness design tools
View and share renders of design files on any device with a web browser
Version control, templates, and component libraries stored in cloud
Built-in task management and commenting for design files and BOMs
Managed design reuse for schematics, layer stacks, and design templates
Project history for every change made to a design
Integration with MCAD applications including SOLIDWORKS®, PTC Creo® Parametric™, Autodesk Inventor®, Autodesk® Fusion 360™, and Siemens NX
Advanced integration with SOLIDWORKS® for MCAD component placement, copper geometry, enclosure exchange, and multi-board/rigid-flex sync
PLM integration with Arena® PLM, PTC Windchill, Aras PLM, Oracle Agile PLM, and Teamcenter®
Multiple importer utilities to convert files from other ECAD platforms
Workflows & Processes
Configurable lifecycle management for design data and components
Managed workflows for part requests, design reviews, project creation/release, and lifecycle approvals
User, role, and group management with support for Single Sign-On (SSO)
Change notifications and change conflict prevention for design documents
Centralized control over design environments, document templates, and output files for every team member
Maintenance & Support
Monthly releases since Nov 2021 (active since 2000, formerly Protel 1985-2000)
Last Release October 2020
(active since 1985)
Backwards compatible with files from all previous releases
On-demand training courses, knowledge base, and community forums
Live chat and support tickets
Support tickets only, no live chat
Dedicated customer success manager check-ins and onboarding
Windows 10 and newer
MacOS 10.15 and newer
*64 bit version requires libc.so.6 with subversion GLIBC_2.14 or higher
Starting at USD 355 / month
OrCAD PCB Designer Pro: USD 2,300 / year
Perpetual License options
Multiple Subscription options
Altium Has Been Enabling Engineers
To Unify Their Design Environment Since 1985
- Unify your entire PCB design environment via one platform
- Interact and collaborate with mechanical designers like never before
- Enjoy the #1 PCB design solution in the world
- Route it your way, faster than ever
- Altium Designer includes all the critical design features hobbyists and professional designers need.
- It’s easy to convert projects from other software into Altium’s file format.
- Altium Designer sees the highest demand by employers and industry leaders.
- A complete toolset helps users take products from concept to high-volume production.
- Altium’s design features are the most intuitive and easiest-to-use.
- Individual engineers and large enterprises look to Altium to help them stay at the cutting edge of technology.
Trusted by over 20,000 companies, including
Since 1985, we have been developing, creating and selling award-winning electronic design tools (software and hardware) that help electronics designers harness the latest devices and technologies, manage their projects across broad design ‘ecosystems’, and create connected, intelligent designs.
Which is better: Altium Designer or OrCAD?
The biggest advantage for Altium Designer users is the powerful electronics development features and the ability to access all the essential PCB design features in a single program. In contrast, OrCAD users must purchase licenses for multiple programs at high expense to have the same capabilities. Large teams and experienced professionals trust the intuitive interface and complete set of design tools in Altium Designer for their projects:
- Comprehensive multichannel, hierarchical schematic capture
- Altium Designer’s integrated SPICE engine provides the same features as PSpice
- Altium Designer’s layer stack calculator includes a built-in field solver for highly accurate impedance calculations
- Altium Designer simplifies variant management and ECO generation
- Altium Designer’s powerful PCB layout and routing tools are easier to use than OrCAD’s
- Access real-time sourcing data with PCB library data inside Altium Designer
- Collaborate with your team and share design data through the Altium 365™ platform
Your PCB design software should help you stay competitive, and outdated design tools just won’t do the trick. OrCAD still uses an outdated toolset that separates important features into separate programs, leaving designs prone to errors. Altium Designer is different, providing the advanced tools professionals expect, but at an accessible price and learning curve. Don't get stuck in the past with OrCAD's outdated user interface, start using the software demanded by industry leaders and professional PCB designers.
Switching from OrCAD to Altium Designer?
Switching to Altium Designer from OrCAD might seem like a huge leap. If you're an existing OrCAD user, it's easy to make the switch and start using Altium Designer from Day 1. Altium Designer includes conversion tools for importing your old libraries and projects into Altium’s file format with minimal effort. All Altium Designer users can take advantage of free online resources to learn more about Altium's leading-edge design tools, basic principles, advanced techniques, new capabilities, and everything in-between. Don’t fear the unknown; Altium is the only solution built by PCB designers for PCB designers.
If you’re comparing Altium Designer vs. OrCAD, invest in your success and choose the industry’s best PCB design software package. Get access to the easiest to use and most powerful design software by making the switch to Altium Designer.
* Cadence OrCAD®, OrCAD®, and logo are registered trademarks owned by Cadence Design Systems, Inc.
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#1 in Electronics Design