The Right Tools for Your Desktop

By Jim Martens

We have all been in this industry long enough to experience the rapid changes in technology. I started design in the early ‘80’s. IC switching speeds were over 8 nanoseconds and most clock speeds were less than 20 MHz. Signal integrity issues were unheard of in the mainstream. Components were thru-hole devices on nice 100 mil centers. (I still remember the panic in the CAD group when a 50 mil SMD devices was introduced) Feature sizes were typically 8-8. Routing was only difficult because of the size of the board, and trying to keep layers to a minimum.

It’s a whole new game today. Switching speeds now in the picoseconds. Clock speeds in the multi-gigahertz range. SMD components with over 2000 pins at .8 mm spacing causing all kinds of routability problems. Power integrity and thermal issues can now be added to the issues engineers and designers face due to the evolution in technology.

These technology changes demand that you have the right tool on your desktop to complete your design correctly. To meet the time-to-market and product differentiation goals your organization has, powerful simulation, analysis, and routing tools are required.

I will be presenting at PCB West ( on Wednesday September 29 at 4:00. If you are at the show, stop by. I’ll be discuss this topic in more detail: how technology changes are driving the need for better design and simulation tools, and what you need as engineers and designers on your desktop to remain competitive.


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