PCB Design Is All About Tradeoffs

By Casey Silbernagel

When designing a PCB, you need to manage many different aspects of the board. Some of the factors you need to consider may be driven by your manager, or by your customer if you are creating the board for someone else. Factors such as signal integrity considerations, routability, the cost of manufacturing, and even the mechanical aspects of the overall design come into play during board creation. As many of you know, however, these design aspects are intertwined with one another so changing one can, for better or worse, change the others. How can you manage design tradeoffs?

Take a net with a length constraint on it as an example. The trace for that net might need an accordion added to it if the ends of the net are too close to each other on the board. If there are a number of these nets in a certain area, then adding too many accordions in a small area could lead to problems with route completion. One way to solve this is to add more layers to the board, but that adds cost to the product when it is manufactured.

The PADS® Product Creation Platform has many capabilities to help manage tradeoffs during the PCB design process. Learn more about them in the new PADS webinar, “Achieve successful PCB design by managing design tradeoffs.”

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