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48 The PCB Design Magazine • September 2015 We hear all the hype about new EDA tools, but how do they actually perform on your de- sign? This month, I road-test Mentor Graphics' new PADS Professional and put it through a rig- orous performance evaluation. Let's see how the Xpedition technology actually performs when integrated into the PADS tool suite. Opening the hood, we see an impressive line-up of features including signal and power integrity, thermal analysis and DRC support for traces violating split planes, reference plane changes and shielding. All the essentials for to- day's complex high-speed designs! Plus, I am looking forward to trying the dynamic plane generation feature—regenerating copper pours is always a pain to perform, in any software. And of course, PADS Professional includes all the standard features one would expect in a high-end tool. Based on Xpedition technology, PADS Pro- fessional is a major improvement over the pre- vious PADS suite of tools. I was first impressed by this technology in 1994, when I attended the VeriBest PCB training and the sales kick-off in Boulder, Colorado. During the sessions, a few of the Intergraph Electronics sales guys were taken out the back, into R & D, and where shown the latest routing technology—eyes lit up with dol- lar signs as the VeriBest (now Xpedition) router was put through its paces. column by Barry olney in-CiRCuiT DeSiGn PTy LTD AuSTRALiA BEyoND DESIGN Top Gear: PADS Professional Road Test Figure 1: Time for a road test.

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