Altium Designer 16 will soon be released. Altium Designer 16 is all about the power of productivity in your design workflow. You’re often faced with doing more with less, so we’re packing in new technology and features to put time back on your side.
A few new features in Altium Designer 16 are:
3D step model generation wizard
3D models of your component allow you to accurately test the fit of your board and the enclosure. But why do you have separate work flows for the footprint and 3D model of the same component? From the same wizard you use to create an IPC compliant footprint Altium Designer can also generate a highly detailed 3D STEP model of your component at the same time. Now you have created both: the footprint and a 3D model all at once! Embed this STEP model to use directly within Altium Designer or save it externally to share it with your MCAD-guy or even post it on the 3D content central.
Alternative part choices
You’ve got a large production run coming up and you need to ensure that all your parts will be available right when you need them. The last thing you want to deal with at this stage of your project is a delay due to a part shortage or discontinuation. With Altium Designer it’s easy to avoid any manufacturing delays of your PCB with the Alternative Part Choice System. Backup part choices directly from your BoM from your most trusted part suppliers. When a key part isn’t available, the Alternative Part Choice System intelligently substitutes the next available part, allowing you to move through your manufacturing and procurement process without any delays.
Visual clearance boundaries
Understanding the impact of your design rules during your routing process can be a difficult task without a clear way to visualize your constraints. The last thing you need to be doing is to waste time trying to figure out if a trace can be routed through a tight space in your board layout. With visual clearance boundaries in Altium Designer it’s easy to visualize and understand the impact of your routing decisions in real-time. Design the most accurate, compliant and error-free board possible by seeing clearance boundaries between the routing objects and components while routing. Visual indicators for constraints allows you to be at your most sufficient without any guesswork how to route the most tightly space of your board layout.
Component placement system
As a PCB designer you are at the forefront of a never ending desire to making things miniature. We’re constantly under pressure to deliver the most advanced technologies in ever smaller form factors and the only way to accomplish this task is to use an advanced component placement system that allows you to create the most organized and efficient board layouts. With space on your board becoming a scarce resource you need a way to easily manage the organization and distribution of components on your PCB. The component placement system in Altium Designer enables you to easily place and organize components on your board with intelligent alignment options. Easily create the most advanced PCB designs by dynamically placing, dragging and pushing components that snap-to alignment with the related objects on your board with a simple keyboard short cut. In addition Altium Designer makes component swapping really simple and a lot more efficient.
Technology-aware xSignals Wizard
Designing for high-speed applications requires the most precise calculations and constraints to maintain a clean signal integrity throughout your entire board layout. And when it comes to designing for DDR3 and DDR4 memory you’ve got an even smaller margin for error with tightly packed traces and compact package sizes. With Altium Designer it’s easy to design the most accurate and error free high-speed board layout with the Technology-aware xSignals Wizard. Take the guesswork out of high-speed designing with supports for common interfaces and memory circuits, including DDR3 and DDR4. The Technology-aware xSignals Wizard guides you through the process of creating xSignals classes for your specific application requirements. And with the included configuration for match length design rules and differential pairs you never have to worry about staying in compliance with your design constraints.
When it comes to high-speed designs one important element in routing is matching length. One particular delay that needs to be accounted for is the delay that comes from the bond-wire-to-die-connection, which is usually referred to as the Pin-package delay. In order to mitigate this delay in your design, Altium Designer added a new field called: Pin-Package length. This can be defined as an attribute of the schematic pin within the pin properties dialogue. Many PCB designers occasionally forget to include this delay in their calculations. So it‘s really nice to have this included as a simple parameter. Al device manufacturers should be able to supply the package delays, which will be specified either as a picosecond delay, or as a length.
Altium uses the length method, as this can easily be added to the trace length to equalize the routed traces in the design. So any time you have a signal that’s a part of a xSignal, the Pin-package – when entered – will be automatically included in the signal length calculations. When the pin length information is entered from the pin properties dialogue from your schematic the link, the length value will be transported to your PCB layout where it becomes the pin length of the footprint.
Net color synchronization
As a lot of you will know, it can be hard to sync the schematic coloring scheme with the layout when two engineers are working on one project. In Altium Designer 16 is an additional coloring option included to completely color sync your schematic and PCB. This will help you to better view and review your designs. You can now highlight multiple nets with multiple colors and be able to easily differentiate your PCBs nets and to push the changes from your schematic to the PCB and vice versa. This new highlight feature can assign colors to the entire net within your schematic instead of just coloring the selected wire. The color highlighting is included in the ECO process when you’re performing a PCB update from your schematic and the other way around. Once the ECO is generated and you accept the changes, the colors of the nets in either your PCB or schematic will be changed.