OrCAD Software


We had used OrCAD since the 1980s when it was a DOS program to output netlists for Tango PCB layout software. Tango decided to create a schematic capture package while OrCAD created a layout package. MS-DOS moved to Windows and we were dragged along kicking and screaming. (We had owned Sun SPARCstations, a DEC Alpha workstation etc, so the first attempts by Microsoft at a 16-bit Windows interface was an eye-opener. The rest is history...).

Our last OrCAD upgrade was around 2000. The Cadence Allegro tools were rather expensive for our needs, but in hindsight, we spent an awful lot on Altium Designer. In 2006, OrCAD had no plans for a unified platform, and their FPGA support was poor. Cadence had acquire OrCAD and their future looked uncertain. Even getting pricing for Cadence tools was difficult in Australia. In South Africa, we knew the OrCAD reseller, so it was easy, but Cadence appears to avoid Google price searches.

Our previous boards laid out in OrCAD were imported into Altium. Even templates or simple boards were imported and then modified in Altium as we found it easier than working in native Altium. We prefered OrCAD PCB to Altium Designer due to familiarity with the package.

Cadence has kept OrCAD and not really merged the schematic capture with the Allegro schematic capture. Apparently there is a way to use OrCAD and then layout with Allegro PCB, but again pricing is not readily available. From casual searches on the net, it would appear that the prices are a lot more than other vendors, so in spite of the better capabilities, we will have to settle for something less expensive.



Auto Routed IDT574 design



Plot of Cadence’s Allegro auto router for the IDT574 board. The banner of this web page is the same board but routed manually (in OrCAD PCB).

How do you get US pricing for the tools? There seems to be some multiple for Australian customers for CAD software.