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Proteus Reviews Wanted

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LabSpokane:
I'm seriously considering dropping the dime on Proteus. Before I do, I figured I'd see if anyone who's been living with it had some feedback about it. I tried the demo and it has its quirks. It won't let me generate gerbers so it's hard to truly fly before you buy.

Thoughts?

Wilksey:
Depends on the package you opt for, but, Proteus is used in UK universities, it has some nice simulation features, the schematic capture is fully capable, and is very intuitive, creating parts etc is quite simple.

The layout tool "Ares" is missing some features for high speed design, but it is fully functional and is very easy to use.  I used it in industry on V7, I have used V8 for testing purposes, and it is not much different.

Overall a good package for the price (£4k for the "platinum" I think), the autorouter - meh, if you set it up correctly it will do a decent enough job, if you even use the AR, most don't, many will tell you it's a sin, I am an occasional sinner and it has produced workable results every time, then, most other packages have also.

Their support, though i've never had to use it, seems to be very good, they seem to have a dedicated team of support engineers and they answer quite quickly through their forums, they have a YouTube channel with various videos.

It has the usual 3D view, Gerber viewer, older graphics chips used to cause issues with drawing, not sure that is an issue these days.

IMO it is a mid level package, comparable for me to something like CadStar, and if I were going to recommend a PCB "food chain" it would go something like:
KiCAD -> DipTrace / Eagle -> Proteus -> Altium or OrCAD

KiCAD being free, but very very usable, DT/Eagle being low to mid range, i'm sure you can read the discussions on these on the forums, if you have a spare year to sift through all of the divided opinions! :)  Proteus is one of the best for simulation (of PIC's) and has a decent layout and capture tool, the only thing missing is as I say, high speed design, diff pairs, length matching etc, and Altium and OrCAD are on their own level.

Gerbers are simple to create with their CAM processor, if you post your project I am sure someone could if you needed it, create Gerbers for you.

digsys:
I've been using it from just about it's 1st release, when it came on 51/4, then 31/2 floppies. I've done several 100 pcbs on it and still put out
25-50 a year nowdays. I've also used Protel from the beginning and got caught up in their cr@p. And on occasions used most other packages.
And I haven't found another one that would make me want to switch. What I like -
A very wysiwyg and straightforward interface, not constantly clicking through menus. Very easy parts creation and editing etc
It has never missed a beat or cr@pped out a layout on me, so I trust the netlist implicitly. Plenty of "high end" features, if I need them.
A very nice feel on how things snap and lock .. just a pleasure to use. A very fair pricing structure, with no penalty upgrades if needed.
In Wilkseys list, I'd put it a LONG way above Diptrace/Eagle, and on par with Altium (which has a lot of stuff that most people would never use IMO.)

Wilksey:
To be honest, if it had the high speed stuff it would be a very close 2nd to Altium, but even KiCAD and Eagle and soon apparently DT will have high speed tools, if Labcenter put these into Proteus it would be a close 2nd in my opinion.

For mid - high PCB design capability, if you need high speed then choose Altium or OrCAD, if you don't and can afford it go for Proteus.

Truth is you will probably never use the full capacity of either Proteus or Altium for that matter.

LabSpokane:
Thanks. I definitely will not be using any package's full capacity. I'm mainly concerned about getting quality work out the door quickly without having to guess at workarounds or endlessly surf the Internet in hopes of finding an instructional trick to do something trivial - as seems the rule with Eagle.

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