In Reply to: Detailed Protel 99se Review (long) posted by Mike on 12/18/00 at 12:17 PM:
This is very interesting article that my boss should have read before buying this. We went through several designs with this and each time has been harrowing experience.
Schematic is somewhat ok if you're willing to modify almost every part that comes in its library.
PCB layout is just dog dog slow to manually route. SOmetimes, each mouse click would take several seconds. This is even without autosave feature; with autosave, it takes several dozen seconds! Note that each mouse click in PCB environment leaks memory. You have to quit protel after several mouse clicks and restart it. This is true with undo level set to less than 10.
Autorouter is even worse; it eats memory at an incredible rate. In about an hour, an average 4 layer board would run out of 600 megs of virtual memory and crash. Hair-pulling comes if the particluar crash takes down the design file. In that case (unless you made backup), you have to start over from scratch on everything (schematic is gone, too!!!).
Asking for their help is of little use. I had the autorouter problem open for about 6 months now and they still don't have a solution. Calling them on the phone, their reply was that autorouter problem takes time to fix. If it takes 6 months, and we are on serivce pack 6 in 1.5 year time, how many more service packs are needed to fix these basic problems?
In all, I cannot recommend Protel99SE unless there are lots of hair to be pulled.