Author Topic: Altium Circuit Studio vs DipTrace  (Read 6156 times)

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Offline Sal Ammoniac

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Altium Circuit Studio vs DipTrace
« on: June 21, 2020, 10:46:44 pm »
Anyone used both of these? If so, can you offer an opinion of which is a good choice for a hobbyist who does four layer boards, including low density BGAs?

I heard Altium hasn’t released an update for CS in years—is that because they’ve abandoned the product or because it’s so good updates aren’t needed?
Complexity is the number-one enemy of high-quality code.
 

Offline Weston

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Re: Altium Circuit Studio vs DipTrace
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2020, 12:10:08 am »
Why not Kicad? Its pretty full featured now and is completely free. I would say that most open source hardware projects use it and a huge portion of hobby level EE stuff. Perfect for "a hobbyist who does four layer boards, including low density BGAs".

 

Offline Sal Ammoniac

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Re: Altium Circuit Studio vs DipTrace
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2020, 01:04:14 am »
Why not Kicad? Its pretty full featured now and is completely free. I would say that most open source hardware projects use it and a huge portion of hobby level EE stuff. Perfect for "a hobbyist who does four layer boards, including low density BGAs".

Tried it, didn’t like it.
Complexity is the number-one enemy of high-quality code.
 

Offline ebclr

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Re: Altium Circuit Studio vs DipTrace
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2020, 11:22:38 am »
Kicad main issue, horrible and unfriendly interface
 
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Offline Daixiwen

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Re: Altium Circuit Studio vs DipTrace
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2020, 07:11:51 am »
All EDAs have an horrible and unfriendly interface. Just pick the one that sucks the least  :-DD

I have to use xPedition at work, and for my hobby projects I chose Kicad which is a model of user friendliness in comparison :D
 

Offline Sal Ammoniac

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Re: Altium Circuit Studio vs DipTrace
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2020, 06:41:21 pm »
I did an evaluation of Circuit Studio, DipTrace, and KiCad comparing the schematic and PCB layout tools of each with a non-trivial example project.

And the winner is... KiCad.

Don't get me wrong here. I still don't like KiCad, I just dislike Circuit Studio and DipTrace even more than I dislike KiCad.
Complexity is the number-one enemy of high-quality code.
 
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Offline apurvdate

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Re: Altium Circuit Studio vs DipTrace
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2020, 04:36:04 am »
I mostly use KiCad for my own projects.
I wanted another licensed variant alongside KiCad for my own projects so I was comparing Circuit studio & Diptrace. After reading several forums regarding how Circuit studio is dumped by Altium people, I went for Diptrace (which I had already tried during college days).
So I use KiCad regularly at home. I use Diptrace in case I need to import/export other formats (e.g. altium ascii, edif) or when the board is so small that autorouter can work sufficiently enough  ;).
BTW I use OrCad at work.
So yeah, I agree every tool has its quirks n stuff. Its just matter of getting used to it.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2020, 04:38:39 am by apurvdate »
 

Offline Pitrsek

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Re: Altium Circuit Studio vs DipTrace
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2020, 04:42:55 pm »
you might want to try https://horizon-eda.org/
btw. library part of the tool is also important
 

Offline Sal Ammoniac

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Re: Altium Circuit Studio vs DipTrace
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2020, 05:03:05 pm »
you might want to try https://horizon-eda.org/
btw. library part of the tool is also important

I tried that one too and it has some weird quirks. For instance, look at how it draws the grid in this screenshot from my system. Bizarre.

Complexity is the number-one enemy of high-quality code.
 

Offline Daixiwen

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Re: Altium Circuit Studio vs DipTrace
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2020, 06:29:01 am »
it's obviously to force you to use 45° angles for your nets
 
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Offline Pitrsek

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Re: Altium Circuit Studio vs DipTrace
« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2020, 07:28:14 pm »
@Sal Ammoniac
https://github.com/horizon-eda/horizon/issues or there is IRC channel.
Dev is extremely responsive. Compared to kicad, it is much more polished and uniform. When I lost access to Altium(switched jobs) for my hobby projects, I tried to kicad again(was using it way back at uni). In some respect kicad had made HUGE progress, in some not at all...I tried HorizonEDA and liked it a lot.
 

Offline electrolust

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Re: Altium Circuit Studio vs DipTrace
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2020, 05:16:35 pm »
I've tried (bought) both of these and liked neither. Best part of CS though, is you get decent library management.

If you can double your budget from $500 (CS) to $1000, then you can do Proteus or take advantage of the OrCAD promo going now for $750. You can get proteus for under $500 but it is very feature limited at that price level. https://www.labcenter.com/pricing/comm/

I have found Proteus to be very strong generally. The weakest part is library management (where CS excels). You can get an eval license to see if you like it.

As a hobbyist (like myself) you have to find the right balance between complexity and feature set. For me, Proteus hit that sweet spot for a long time. Now I'm moving on to OrCAD.

Be sure to look at https://www.element14.com/community/docs/DOC-76216/l/circuitstudio-by-altium-vs-altium-designer-feature-and-specification-comparison to see what you get and don't get with CS.
 

Offline Sal Ammoniac

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Re: Altium Circuit Studio vs DipTrace
« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2020, 05:37:44 pm »
Now I'm moving on to OrCAD.

Can I ask why? Orcad was out of my price range, but their $750 offer is tempting.
Complexity is the number-one enemy of high-quality code.
 

Offline Bob Sava

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Re: Altium Circuit Studio vs DipTrace
« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2020, 11:54:19 am »
you might want to try https://horizon-eda.org/
btw. library part of the tool is also important

I tried that one too and it has some weird quirks. For instance, look at how it draws the grid in this screenshot from my system. Bizarre.



Was the grid rectangular?  Rectangular grid is a recent feature, so probably needs more testing.  Bugs like that take few days to get fixed if you report them through GitHub.   Horizon has KiCad’s push and shove router, net/trace highlighting, signal pairs and length tuning.  Part creation is nice also but takes time to figure out.  Overall, if you have time to submit bugs on occasion Horizon EDA is worth investing your time, I think.  Plus, I am not a programmer, but code is so well structured (I do wish it was documented more) I can tweak little things here and there on my own.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2020, 12:21:43 pm by Bob Sava »
 

Online Lukas

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Re: Altium Circuit Studio vs DipTrace
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2020, 05:24:16 pm »
you might want to try https://horizon-eda.org/
btw. library part of the tool is also important

I tried that one too and it has some weird quirks. For instance, look at how it draws the grid in this screenshot from my system. Bizarre.



I'm happy to inform you that this particular bug has been fixed a few days ago: https://github.com/horizon-eda/horizon/issues/496#
 

Offline tszaboo

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Re: Altium Circuit Studio vs DipTrace
« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2020, 10:04:39 pm »
Now I'm moving on to OrCAD.

Can I ask why? Orcad was out of my price range, but their $750 offer is tempting.
I wouldn't get Orcad. It has very bad learning curve. I was using it for designing a board, and I'm not even kidding, I had to google how to palce a via on the board (oh, first you have to create a whole library of all the vias that you wish to use, then it is hidden in a sub menu. My mind is baffled. Instead of "place -> via"). Library management is a mess, output generation is a mess, help is nonexistent. And call tech support to even get a license working on the PC. Properties names are coming straight out of the 80s (seriously, nobody is etching PCBs anymore and there is no such thing as antipad) or the source code of a programmer.
If you complain, they try to sell you a training. And be prepared to create every single component yourself.  Only get that software, if someone forces you to use it.

Or CS for that matter. Altium cut down a little bit too much of the features, that actually makes projects impossible. Like you cannot place slot hole for a USB connector  :palm: It's just not feature complete, which makes it a no go, because it is just a matter of time, when you run into a problem that is not possible to solve. Abandonware anyway.

Kicad is probably the only cheap/free EDA software I ever used, that I can imagine using. Besides, most people I worked with doesnt like the default UI, colors, and setting even in Altium. It takes a long time to set up the whole UI the way you like it, these personal preferences could take hundreds of hours to find.
 

Offline mstevens

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Re: Altium Circuit Studio vs DipTrace
« Reply #16 on: August 22, 2020, 02:54:07 pm »
Now I'm moving on to OrCAD.

Can I ask why? Orcad was out of my price range, but their $750 offer is tempting.
I wouldn't get Orcad. It has very bad learning curve. I was using it for designing a board, and I'm not even kidding, I had to google how to palce a via on the board (oh, first you have to create a whole library of all the vias that you wish to use, then it is hidden in a sub menu. My mind is baffled. Instead of "place -> via"). Library management is a mess, output generation is a mess, help is nonexistent. And call tech support to even get a license working on the PC. Properties names are coming straight out of the 80s (seriously, nobody is etching PCBs anymore and there is no such thing as antipad) or the source code of a programmer.
If you complain, they try to sell you a training. And be prepared to create every single component yourself.  Only get that software, if someone forces you to use it.

Altium Designer may cost 4 to 6 times more that the current Orcad offering. For some this may be the deciding factor; and you would be getting a comparable tool in Orcad. Each tool has its shortcomings.  Disclosure: I do own licenses of both.

 
 

Offline tszaboo

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Re: Altium Circuit Studio vs DipTrace
« Reply #17 on: August 22, 2020, 02:56:41 pm »
Altium's may cost them 4 to 6 times more that the current Orcad offering. For some this may be the deciding factor; and you would be getting a comparable tool in Orcad. Each tool has its shortcomings.  Disclosure: I do own licenses of both.
I wasnt saying to get Altium. I wouldnt get Altium on my own money, unless for my own business making money with it. I would use Kicad, because it is a better software than Orcad.
 

Offline b_force

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Re: Altium Circuit Studio vs DipTrace
« Reply #18 on: August 23, 2020, 03:06:01 am »
All EDAs have an horrible and unfriendly interface. Just pick the one that sucks the least  :-DD

I have to use xPedition at work, and for my hobby projects I chose Kicad which is a model of user friendliness in comparison :D
I don't agree with that.

Some you can pick up within a few days, depending on your needs.
I have used Altium as well as Diptrace, as well as a whole bunch of other ones for the last 15-20 years, mostly on a professional level.
From Proteus, PADS to Ultiboards, Eagle and what not.

My first question is always what people really need and want?
Altium can be great and all, but IMO it has so many features that even most professionals will never use.
Diptrace is very easy to pick up, very straight forward, still as some weird bugs but they take their community serious.
I see a lot of potential in there.

Recently out of pure curiosity I have been playing with EasyEDA.
From a professional point of view it really lacks some features, but I was amazed to basically copy a whole design over within 2 days.
Never ever used it before. That shows how good a GUI can be.

Most EDA's work more or less than same and with the good/professional ones the GUI can be fully customized.
I said most, because there is one popular exception, and that is KiCAD.
And probably we will get another whole fanboy debate again with different people. :palm:
But I am sorry, it is just very silly to make an user interface that is absolute not compatible or similar to ANY of all the big boys that have been around for decades.

I have spend several WEEKS to get things going always ran into major problems and I was unable to fully copy over an old design.
Always had to google search something or even "program" stuff to fix things.
Yes, you can make board if your demands are not to crazy and if you follow strictly a certain work flow.
But if you lost were you are in that work flow, there is not an easy way to get around in KiCAD.
Sometimes you literally can't get somewhere without a keyboard shortcut   
At the same time having all these issues and broken GUI they are spending months (years?) on end to make a schematic simulator and auto-routers |O
It starts to look like a comedy show. I think I will speak for other people that it doesn't really show that you take users serious.
Always coming back with the same message "this is not a real bug or bullet point we can work on, can you define it better".

Anyway, enough ranting I guess, my apologies. It just makes me very cynical when I see things with potential that don't get anywhere.
From the new kids around the block I see more potential in Diptrace, since they take their community actually a lot more serious.
For people who just do easy simple boards, just go for EasyEDA
The last one also saves you a lot of time making footprints since they are directly connected to LCSC
« Last Edit: August 23, 2020, 03:14:30 am by b_force »
 
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Offline voltsandjolts

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Re: Altium Circuit Studio vs DipTrace
« Reply #19 on: August 23, 2020, 09:01:15 am »
...Or CS for that matter. Altium cut down a little bit too much of the features, that actually makes projects impossible. Like you cannot place slot hole for a USB connector  :palm: It's just not feature complete, which makes it a no go, because it is just a matter of time, when you run into a problem that is not possible to solve. Abandonware anyway.

Of course you can do slots in CS  :palm:
There has not been a release for a couple of years but there is a new release in beta test right now, so, no it is not quite 'Abandonware' yet.
It is missing the useful 'find similar objects' tool, so some selection types are tedous, manual operation.
But CS is feature complete, I have been using it commercially for the last few years, it works. It's stable (more so than AD by the sounds of it).
Of course, it would not be the right tool for designing PC motherboards. You gotta pick the right tool for the job at hand.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2020, 09:09:35 am by voltsandjolts »
 

Offline tszaboo

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Re: Altium Circuit Studio vs DipTrace
« Reply #20 on: August 23, 2020, 03:40:43 pm »
...Or CS for that matter. Altium cut down a little bit too much of the features, that actually makes projects impossible. Like you cannot place slot hole for a USB connector  :palm: It's just not feature complete, which makes it a no go, because it is just a matter of time, when you run into a problem that is not possible to solve. Abandonware anyway.

Of course you can do slots in CS  :palm:
There has not been a release for a couple of years but there is a new release in beta test right now, so, no it is not quite 'Abandonware' yet.
It is missing the useful 'find similar objects' tool, so some selection types are tedous, manual operation.
But CS is feature complete, I have been using it commercially for the last few years, it works. It's stable (more so than AD by the sounds of it).
Of course, it would not be the right tool for designing PC motherboards. You gotta pick the right tool for the job at hand.
Well, apparently they added that feature in 2016. But it wasnt in the original release.
https://documentation.circuitstudio.com/display/CSTU/Release+Notes+for+CircuitStudio
Quote
Pad objects now support square and slotted holes.
But yeah, the last release was 2 years ago. If you click Support on their page, it leads to a 404 page. Confidence is low.
 

Offline voltsandjolts

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Re: Altium Circuit Studio vs DipTrace
« Reply #21 on: August 23, 2020, 04:22:37 pm »
Confidence is low.

Altium have dropped the ball on updates, but there is a new release in the pipeline.
I still recommend that folks check it out, I think for its price it is quite well featured.
The libraries and schematic entry are very similar to and compatible with AD.
So, for younger folks, if you are going after a job with a company that uses AD (a lot do) then CS is a great skill to have on your CV.
 

Offline b_force

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Re: Altium Circuit Studio vs DipTrace
« Reply #22 on: August 23, 2020, 04:29:33 pm »
Confidence is low.

Altium have dropped the ball on updates, but there is a new release in the pipeline.
I still recommend that folks check it out, I think for its price it is quite well featured.
The libraries and schematic entry are very similar to and compatible with AD.
So, for younger folks, if you are going after a job with a company that uses AD (a lot do) then CS is a great skill to have on your CV.
To be very honest, after a while these isn't so much to update anymore?
Except when programs still have some nasty annoyances and bugs.
For this reason I have been using CoCreate 8 (3D CAD) for years (started at a certain company I was working for back in the day)
There just wasn't a need to upgrade.

Offline voltsandjolts

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Re: Altium Circuit Studio vs DipTrace
« Reply #23 on: August 23, 2020, 04:31:59 pm »
I agree, Protel 99 is still very popular! Does what it says on the tin.
 
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Offline tszaboo

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Re: Altium Circuit Studio vs DipTrace
« Reply #24 on: August 24, 2020, 01:57:33 pm »
Confidence is low.

Altium have dropped the ball on updates, but there is a new release in the pipeline.
I still recommend that folks check it out, I think for its price it is quite well featured.
The libraries and schematic entry are very similar to and compatible with AD.
So, for younger folks, if you are going after a job with a company that uses AD (a lot do) then CS is a great skill to have on your CV.
To be very honest, after a while these isn't so much to update anymore?
Except when programs still have some nasty annoyances and bugs.
For this reason I have been using CoCreate 8 (3D CAD) for years (started at a certain company I was working for back in the day)
There just wasn't a need to upgrade.
There are reasons to update a PCB designer. New package types are introduced every now and then, they should have wizzard for creating them. Gerber X2 is the format of today, CS doesnt have support for it (AFAIK), only legacy gerber. New windows versions break existing functionality, like a few years ago, some microsoft office update broke all .dblib library in Altium. PCBs are expected to do more today, with flexible stackups, touch sensors, built in components.
It is possible, that you dont need all these, and happy with a 20 year old software. But I would rather suggest investing your time and effort into something, that is not a dead end.
 


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