Desktop PCB and Technology

By Jim Martens

Mentor Graphics’ Technology Leadership Awards were recently announced. These awards recognize engineers and designers who use innovative methods and design tools to address today’s complex PCB systems design challenges and produce industry-leading products. I’d like to personally congratulate all of the winners!

I’m often asked what differentiates the desktop market segment from the enterprise segment. As this contest confirms – it sure isn’t technology!

Some of the toughest designs I’ve ever seen have been designed in PADS, as demonstrated by CiBoard Electronic, Sienna ECAD, and Rancore in this years TLA. These users faces the same challenges as all electronic designers: requirements for more functionality on a smaller boards, high-speed issues, keeping costs down, getting to production and market quicker – all the things we ECAD vendors have been talking about for years.

So what does differentiate the desktop and enterprise markets? The big difference is the company’s infrastructure. Does the company have a small engineering department with a few EE’s and PCB designers, where these individuals have to do most of the design themselves? Do the engineers need to design the logic, plus do any simulations and analysis? Does the PCB designer capture the mechanicals themselves, plus build all the library components, or are there dedicated groups or people to do this?

Desktop means just that – the user (engineer or designer) must do all or most of the design, with the tools they have right there – on their desktop. The enterprise user would typically have a larger organization behind them: specialists to assist in analysis, support teams for installations, internal support, and dedicated librarians.

Of course, there are other differentiators.

To learn more about PADS and the desktop market, go to


Leave a Reply

This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at