The Best High Speed Design Tools in Altium Designer
Building your next high speed PCB takes the best design and analysis tools. Your design tools should make it easy to route connections, place components, and design your stackup in a way that complies with basic high speed design rules. Your analysis tools should help you identify problem areas in your PCB, making it easy to prevent problems that are common in poorly designed PCBs. Only Altium Designer includes all of these tools in a single software program.
TOPICS IN THIS SOLUTION
A unified PCB design package with the best high speed design tools in a single interface.
Working with high speed devices requires a number of design tools that help you layout your board while helping you meet basic design rules. Your layout tools should help you automate repetitive design tasks as much as possible while still ensuring that your board meets basic design standards. Don’t let high-speed digital design impede your PCB, and certainly don’t let your design software stutter on any step of the process like organizing a ground plane, choosing PCB material, or layer stackup for high-speed applications. Because so many PCB design programs separate critical high-speed design features in different modules, how can all this be possible within a single platform?
The answer lies in rules-driven design. When all your design tools are built to work with the same set of design rules and communicate using the same data format, your design software doesn’t need to separate tools into different programs. Your design tools can be integrated into a single program when they run on the same basic design engine. This improves your overall productivity and helps ensure your board meets basic high speed design standards.
Instead of giving in to the old way of PCB design, where different functions are placed in different modules, you need design software that uses a fully graphical interface for all your design tasks. Only Altium Designer integrates your critical design tools into a single software platform. You’ll have full access to the best high speed design tools within a single program.
There was a time where PCB design was quick and dirty; no one really made a big deal about high frequency or high speed design because these components and signal sources did not exist. As technology advanced and signal integrity problems began to become a critical consideration, PCB design software and workflows needed to catch up, ensuring designers could build devices that would actually be functional.
Older PCB design software platforms continue to enforce the same outdated workflow that they did 20 years ago. Platforms that separate features into multiple programs with inconsistent features and different workflows hamper your productivity and make it difficult to verify your device. Some new programs still force you to perform basic design tasks using command line entries, simply because this is the way it has always been.
Upgrading To the Newest High Speed Design Paradigm
The newest and best model in PCB design software is integrated design. This type of design software unifies all your tools in a single program. All your features and extensions are present within a single interface with a consistent workflow. You’ll be able to access your critical tools for high speed design in a single graphical interface.
This design environment makes high speed design much easier as all the required tools are present in a single interface. Integrated design doesn’t just include all the right tools in one place; these tools are designed to work together using the same data structure and ensure that your board meets basic requirements for high speed design. Powerful verification and simulation tools integrate directly with your design rules, streamlining your workflow and improving your productivity.
- When working with high speed designs, you can test your board before it hits the production line when you use the right simulation tools.Learn more about incorporating simulations in your PCB design workflow.
- Devices that use high speed differential signalling require precise routing techniques throughout your signal nets.
- The right design tools make it easy to apply the best termination method to traces in your high speed PCB.Learn more about termination methods for high speed PCBs.
Viewing a panelized board in 3D in Altium Designer
When working with high speed PCBs, especially devices with high pin density, it can be difficult to see which sections of your device might be causing problems in your board due to crosstalk, EMI, or improper terminations. Your PCB design software needs to include the right signal analysis tools in order to diagnose these problems.
The right design and analysis tools can help you identify and solve these problems without manually inspecting and calculating the termination and crosstalk suppression conditions in every interconnect. When your PCB design software is entirely rules-driven, it’s easy to route signals such that crosstalk is minimized and signal reflection is suppressed with the right termination scheme or impedance control. Only Altium Designer offers these tools in a single program with a consistent workflow.
Incorporate Simulations Into Your High Speed Design Process
Most PCB design software packages offer this functionality in an external module. Only Altium Designer includes the best signal integrity and analysis that operate directly using your design data. You don’t have to export your designs to another program or manually create a model for your device in an external program. The features you need are all in one program, and all with an intuitive graphic interface.
Once you’ve diagnosed a signal problem that is related to, say, signal reflection at poorly terminated traces, you can choose the right termination options for these traces and get a look at how each option will affect signal integrity. You won’t have to go and try different options in your layout, Altium Designer incorporates standard termination schemes as options in the signal integrity package, allowing you to pick the termination scheme that works best for your board.
- Getting your layer stack right is about more than just impedance control. You’ll need to get your layer stack correct to ensure your board is manufacturable.
- You can configure your routing strategy to comply with basic rules for high speed design when you use the best automated routing tools.Learn more about automatic routing tools in Altium Designer.
- The right PCB design software package allows you to implement signal integrity verification through simulations as part of your design process.
Preventing skew with length tuning in Altium Designer
So why would anyone need every possible design tool in a single location? Working on high speed devices requires multiple design tools and procedures, and your productivity skyrockets when your features are present in a single interface. Tools that are built using a consistent data format and design engine helps you identify, correct, and even prevent common design mistakes that other programs commonly miss.
When you need to ensure you are preventing skew, crosstalk, EMI, signal reflection, and meeting basic routing standards, you need to use a PCB design platform that is built on a rules-driven design engine. This is the only way to ensure that your design tools have access to the same design rules and ensures that your design choices meet basic design standards.
Altium Designer Integrates High Speed Design and Simulation Tools
Integrating design tools is about more than just packaging them all in one place. It involves enforcing a consistent workflow across all tools and requires that each feature communicate in a consistent data format. Only Altium Designer offers a broad feature set and can guarantee a level of reliability that is unmatched by any other PCB design platform. Other design platforms claim to create a unified design environment, but they still force you to switch between programs just to access basic design features.
Only Altium Designer includes all the tools you need to bring your next high speed design to life. The automated routing tools, simulation features, and analysis tools make it easy to build top-tier high speed PCBs with ease. All the design tools are built on a rules-driven design engine that ensures consistency and compliance in all aspects of your design. Best of all, the rules-driven design engine in Altium Designer allows you to adapt your design features to your specific application.
- Altium Designer includes everything you need to start designing high speed PCBs as soon as you install the software.Learn more about high speed design in Altium Designer.
- The interactive routing features in Altium Designer interface directly with your design rules, helping you prevent skew, crosstalk, and EMI problems that other design programs miss.Learn more about interactive routing features in Altium Designer.
- Signal integrity analysis help you to diagnose problems that can’t always be anticipated with design rules. A great simulation package helps you identify and correct signal problems in your PCB.Learn more about signal integrity tools in Altium Designer.
No other PCB design platform on the market can compete with Altium Designer. Only Altium Designer integrates design, simulation, analysis, verification, and deliverable generation tools that used to be siloed in separate programs into a single interface. You’ll be able to move from design to production without a hitch. You’ll be able to avoid problems that plague other PCB design programs when you use the best design tools in a unified environment.
Ditching the the outdated methods of PCB design and working in a new design environment can be challenge. Fortunately, Altium gives you the resources you need to come up to speed quickly and be successful. You’ll have access to the AltiumLive forum, webinars and podcasts with industry experts, a thorough knowledge base, and useful tutorials that are geared towards all aspects of PCB design.
If you’re tired working with design software that separates features that just won’t synchronize properly and enforces an outdated workflow, then you need to try the only PCB design software package that creates a truly unified design environment. Altium Designer is the only design platform that gives you the power to design any type of PCB for your unique application. You’ll be able to build your next high speed device to the highest design standards.