Performance Improvements in Altium Designer
Multithreading allows Altium Designer to parse out different tasks to different cores making it much quicker. Multi-threading is used for tasks that can be run in parallel. Its Great for things like polygon pours, gerber generation and DRC checks, things that do not have to be calculated sequentially. Its to be noted that smaller, simple designs will probably not notice a difference in performance but users that work with larger, more complex designs will.
Now that Altium Designer is 64 bit its able to utilize much more memory than its predecessors, giving the user a faster and smoother design experience.
Certain tasks in the software have been completely rewritten to be much more efficient. Examples of this would be gerber generation and net building. Our R&D team went through and reduced the amount of calculations Altium needed to do to complete a task without losing any data. They’re pretty clever.
New User Improvements
The interactive properties panel provides universal editing access to the properties of documents and objects in design editors. The panel changes its content based on the document or object that is currently selected and presents specific properties and settings that relate to that document/object. For example if you click on a component in the schematic the properties panel will show the designator, description as well as parameters and pin information. And when in the PCB the properties panel will show similar information just slightly geared for PCB. The properties panel is a work in progress and will continue to improve.
View Configuration Panel
The view configuration panel is used to configure what is currently displayed in the workspace and how it is displayed. This includes layer visibility and color, object visibility and transparency, masking and dimming levels, the current single layer mode, and a number of additional workspace display features, such as the display of net names on pads, vias and tracks. This is a work in progress and will continue to improve.
Altium Designer 18 introduces true system-level design that connects both logical system design and the physical board assembly. In the Multi-board schematic environment is where one is able to logically connect the seperate board modules together. Once connected use the connection manager to manage the connectivity across designs.
Within the multiboard assembly environment one is able to physically connect the separate PCBs in 3D space. The multi-board environment also has 3D collision checking to make sure everything fits perfectly. And if a change needs to be make to a components placement, changes can be pushed to the child PCB.
The BOM document is an important document that should be an integral part of the design process, not an afterthought. ActiveBOM supplies designers with information so that they can make informed decisions when it comes to choosing suppliers and components. The BOM document in Altium Designer displays realtime supplier and part information, the ability to rank suppliers and also checks to help make sure that the BOM document is accurate and ready to be sent out.
Q: Is ActiveBOM included with Altium Designer 18?
A: Yes. ActiveBOM, multiboard design, and Draftsman are all included with Altium Designer 18
Q: Where does ActiveBOM get its supplier information from?
A: Altium works very closely with octopart and with suppliers/distributors to get data directly from the source.
Q: Does ActiveBOM sync with SnapEDA?
A: SnapEDA has developed a plugin for Altium Designer which connects to Altium Designer but this is something that SnapEDA developes not Altium. So I am unaware of their capabilities and future plans.
Q: Do the Altium Designer Signal Integrity tools work with multiboard?
A: No, not at this time. Multiboard is still young and we are constantly developing and improving.
Q: Can ActiveBOM be customized with additional columns for my needs?
A: Yes. ActiveBOM can be fully customized to add almost any information you need. More information on ActiveBOM can be found on here on our documentation page. We have not had a chance to update the page for AD 18 but the information should still be valid.
Q: Can you view how net propagate through multiple boards while using multiboard?
A: Yes. While in the multiboard you one is able to select and highlight nets on the multiboard assembly, displaying how the net travels through the different boards.
To do this, open the Multiboard Assembly panel while in the multiboard assembly workspace / document (.MbaDoc). Expand the PCB doc until you see the Nets folder. From there you are able to select one or multiple nets on your board.
“I had not been exposed to much 3D PCB design capability in the past. As a relatively new ALTIUM user I have to say that designing PCB in 3D using Altium is a lot easier than I thought it would be. Trading 3D PCB layout files with my mechanical cohorts for review has never been easier!”
-Kelly Dack, CID+ CIT, PCB Designer / IPC Instructor
About the Author
Alexsander joined Altium as a Technical Marketing Engineer and brings years of engineering expertise to the team. His passion for electronics design combined with his practical business experience provides a unique perspective to the marketing team at Altium. Alexsander graduated from one of the top 20 universities in the world at UCSD where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering.More Content by Alexsander Tamari