PCB design tool sees 80 percent speed up

PCB design tool sees 80 percent speed up

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By Nick Flaherty

UK-based EDA developer WestDev has seen an 80 percent speed increase in the latest version of its Pulsonix PCB design tool

“Many of our customers are building significantly more complex designs resulting in the need for fast and efficient PCB design tools, ” said Bob Williams, marketing director for Pulsonix, based in Tewkesbury. “Version 11.0 makes a gigantic leap in speed, dramatically reducing the time it takes to perform many PCB design operations, such as Design Rule Checking (DRC), Copper Pouring, and Gerber generation.”

Significant speed improvements have been made by completely rewriting the underlying graphics engine to use standard DirectX graphics and high-performance graphics cards such as those used in the gaming industry.

“With these changes, some of our large designs are displaying up to 2.5 times faster, ” said Olaf Hollinger at customer Carl Zeiss AG. In addition, multi-threading capabilities have been extended and added to many functions, meaning that speed is significantly increased on features that are processor intensive that can use parallel processing. “We’ve seen many improvements in this area,” added Hollinger. “As an example, we’ve seen DRCs that can be more than four times faster with multi-threading using my eight cores.” In addition to the speed advantage, the new graphics also improves the rendering quality of the design image being viewed.

Other enhancements include  a Same Net Via to SMD check to avoid technological problems during soldering of SMD components by ensuring a sufficient solder mask bridge between SMD pads and vias, as well as Back Drilling for high-speed designs. This uses an easily created rule set to define back drilling for critical nets that require the removal of unwanted via or component pin stubs on through-holes. This can significantly reduce signal integrity issues and signal distortion.

New Differential Pair and Creepage rules help to automate signal placement and validate safety rules for specific designs, for example in medical devices.

“Version 11.0 is a remarkable step forward regarding performance and speed, which is very important for large designs,” said Hollinger.

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