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Altium Vs Cadence: What Features Do They Offer?

Time is valuable, so you should design your Circuit board appropriately from the beginning. Making the wrong Circuit board software choice could lead to numerous pointless modifications and a significant delay in your project’s completion. The two most widely used PCB design programs are Altium as well as Cadence. These software tools aid in the creation of effective PCB designs.

What Does Altium Designer Offer?

A PCB design automation tool and software were created by the Australian software company Altium. It is currently the most popular program in the electronic design business. It includes an auto-router, a schematic, and PCB module. It also includes pairs for differential routing. Additionally, it facilitates the turning of the track length and 3D modeling.

It offers a variety of editors as well as software engines for electronic product development. It aids in managing processing, compiling, and editing. This software also provides X2 integration. Since the environment is completely adjustable, one can arrange the workspace to suit the situation.

Features of Altium Designer

  • Turning of the track length as well as 3D modeling
  • Powerful tools that helps in the management of data
  • Helps in cost estimates, and real-time transparency
  • Reuse of the design tools
  • Modern technology for routing
  • Enough intelligence that aids the management of the supply chain

Engineers will be able to save some time by getting access to the entire tools for design all in one spot. This allows them to complete the entire process of design in one simple environment, as well as deliver top-quality products much faster. This is the way that Altium has taken top spot when searching for the most reliable software for PCB design.

What are the Benefits and Pitfalls of the Altium Designer?

Cadence pcb design


  • With respect to the design needs, the 3D and the 2D body can be toggled easily
  • Users can work easily with the STEP models
  • Importing the mechanical data in a specific design for the monitoring of a 3D model is possible
  • Helps in the revision of the designs stored earlier, which leads to better productivity of the organization in the designing and development of the PCB design
  • Exchanges data easily with the MCAD systems


  • For the schematic of medium sizes, its default settings usually generates many specious warnings
  • Startups could be slow because the software is a heavy one
  • Routing designs could be difficult because Altium comes with many constraints
  • Auto-router limitations
  • Less functionalities in contrast to the other programs and softwares

What Does the Cadence PCB Designer Offer?

In a design system that is constraint driven, Cadence PCB Designer swiftly converts basic and complicated designs from conception to production to guarantee performance and manufacturability. Designers can fit all future and present methodological and technological requirements for organizations, teams, as well as projects of any size and complexity on a budget thanks to scalable technology. You may perform high-speed designs, RF antenna, DFM technology, and flex-circuitry with Cadence Allegro Circuit board Designer.

Your cutting-edge and original designs can come to life with the aid of Cadence PCB Design. You can continue designing while receiving real-time visual input from the environment that is constraint-driven, which also guarantees the usability and producibility of the PCBs.

You can make decisions based on real-time designing insights provided by workflows of integrated analysis, cutting-edge routing technologies, as well as a wide range of different design checks.

Regardless of the density, sophisticated routing algorithms make it simple to handle both basic as well as complex routes. Choose from a variety of options in the planner to shorten the routing process, including contour, scribble, slide, any angle, hug, push, tuning, etc.

Without sacrificing quality, Cadence PCB Design’s HDI technology enables you to meet your demands for a small and slim design. This makes it possible to manage electronics miniaturization without the need for a microscope. Reducing the number required for design iterations as well as accelerating the time it takes to put your designs into production is possible by relying on real-time manufacturability assessments.

In order to guarantee manufacturability and successful electronic assembly across every level of the design process, link with the manufacturing rules just at outset of your design to shorten design cycles as well as boost productivity.

Benefits and Pitfalls of the Cadence Allegro



  • Allegro comes with auto-interactive commands, which helps in phase and delay tuning. In order to simplify the interface layouts, these overlays are usually color coded.
  • In order to optimize, as well as simulate the design, there is an inclusion of the Keysight ADS
  • The system for Allegro Automation helps in handling the edits of documents consistently and smoothly. These include file edits, drawing details, annotations, and more, which are tracked and easily viewed.
  • With the DFM Technology the manufacturing and design rules could be viewed and checked easily and quickly.
  • Users will be able to set constraints for the customer design, as well as automate the process of checking to be able to get the feedback on the validity of the design.
  • Interconnection routing and planning are easier when working with the interface of high speed for any complex design.


  • Creating the library symbols could take a very long time
  • Time for setup could be high; also, it has a steep learning curve

Altium Vs Cadence – What is the Difference?

User Interface

An unattractive user interface for PCB design software can be very annoying. You can have a bad experience with things like terrible color palettes. A poor user interface is really a thorn in the flesh. Altium features a great approach to PCB design. Its user interface makes your experience a lovely one. You will enjoy working in the tool in Altium Designer. This is because it feels really great and the choice of color is something you would love.

However, this is not the case with Cadence Allegro/OrCAD as it does not offer users with an enjoyable user experience. The user interface isn’t what you would really like. However, this does not mean this software isn’t powerful or efficient enough. Once you use it correctly, you will enjoy your work, but it’s not an application you will love to play around in.

Altium enhances the experience of the user as the work progresses. However, Cadence Allegro works like a pick up truck that can perform more heavy lifting for you. Also, Cadence is very amazing for work, but it isn’t what you would like for taking pictures.

Help & Documentation

A helpful documentation is necessary in every PCB design software. It serves as a guide. This means it tells you what a thing is and how to use it giving examples. This really saves you so much time. Nobody likes to waste time on things when they don’t know how to do it. A good documentation is really a life saver.

The documentation in Altium Designer offers great context on the reasons you should utilize a feature in the tool. Also, it gives example on how to go about it. However, users have to visit their website to find what they are looking for. Also, users must be sure of the particular term they are looking for. Sometimes you might not know how to describe the particular term in Altium. In this case, you need to go through the categories in the documentation. You may likely come across something that gives answers to the problem. This is not convenient to do in Altium.

 Allegro/OrCAD makes this more convenient.  When you click the ‘Help’ button in the window you are working in, the documentation brings out what you need. Also, Cadence Allegro allows you to learn the terms of those features. Also, it provides examples on how you can use them.

Ease of Use

Ease of use can be classified in two different ways. The first is, how you can easily integrate the rule manager. Secondly,  how easy can users apply rules for the circuit board. It is much more intuitive to set up rules in Altium Designer than it is in Cadence. But, there are more considerations to take when applying the rules. This includes having to script/code a rule and managing rule priorities.

The constraint manager of Cadence Allegro is no way intuitive to use. This is because this feature requires some training or tip. You can easily make rules once you understand how the tool works.  

Efficiency During Design

You need a constraint management system/tool that doesn’t require you to keep updating. Once you set up a constraint management system, you don’t need to update it.  

Altium Designer is a perfect software that works excellently when making constraints that make intuitive sense. The graphics and images are useful and helpful along the way. However, once you work with any high-speed design, you will need to include a code to help manage some differential pairs, constraints, net classes, etc. After this, you can now set the priorities.

However, this isn’t the case in Cadence Allegro. Everything is completely different.  The constraint manager enables  you to create several constraint sets. You can assign these constraint sets to any group of your choice. This is a simple and efficient method to set constraints. Another great thing  is when you can change a constraint for any object in your design  without code. However, you can still set some special constraints using code.

You need to be very careful of the Constraint Manager tool in Altium designer, especially the constraints is set for certain boards.  In cadence Allegro, all you need is to set it from the top level to the ground level. This makes it very effective.


Reliability is one of the most crucial benefits you need in any EDA software. The ability for users to trust that  the software won’t make mistakes while working on their PCB project is a great assurance. This is because errors can be a nightmare for you as you will need to spend your precious time fixing those errors. Not only the time involved, the effort involved in correcting errors is exhausting.

The rule management of Altium Designer is indeed a great feature that helps you to keep your design in check. But, there is one major concern for users. This is the number of custom rules users need in  creating with code.

Cadence Allegro is really a reliable software as it changes the whole story. Users can see everything constrained by simply integrating the spreadsheet-based approach to rule management. Furthermore, the sets-based  group-based approach of Cadence to constraint management  is very simple. This approach is very effective and powerful.

Also, Cadence Allegro allows you to set certain parameters on every net. However, the rule management system of  Altium requires you to create it and always come back to check.

Custom Constraint Regions/Areas

Most PCB design software allows you to set any region on the circuit board with.  Altium Designer makes it easy to design custom constraint areas/ regions. All you need to do is to build a Room object, then place it on the printed circuit board and design a new rule set that defines where the rule is applicable.

Cadence Allegro features Constraint Region boxes that allow users to design a custom rule area. Also, users can place that region in a ‘Constraint Set’. The two methods are very easy to carry out. However,  the OrCAD’s method is preferable since it allows you to reuse the special region constraint set any time you want.

Which of the Them Suits You?

Job Seekers

Cadence Allegro is a reliable option if you will be working in any Corporate Industry. It is very difficult to see a large company, which doesn’t talk about the Cadence Allegro software whenever they mention Altium.

College Students

Students in the college ought to learn how to use Cadence or Altium. Usually, the industry desires freshly graduated engineers that know how to make use of the software.


By now, the features and differences between Altium and Cadence are very clear. Work with whichever suits your work and projects.