Comparing Altium Designer and Zuken PCB Design: A Complete Guide

Zachariah Peterson
|  Created: March 22, 2021
Comparing Altium Designer and Zuken: A Complete Guide

Designers will find plenty of options for PCB design tools on the market, and it can be difficult to compare your options. Altium Designer and Zuken are two popular platforms for professional PCB design, and both platforms have a number of features in common. However, Altium Designer contains many advanced features that are absent from Zuken, making it the ideal choice for any designer building cutting-edge products.


A unified PCB design package that integrates advanced PCB design and layout features with data management and ECAD/MCAD collaboration features in a single program.

If you want to remain productive and design the best new technology, your team needs access to the best PCB design features. Zuken and Altium Designer both provide a broad set of standard design features you’ll need for PCB design, but they also have some key differences. Here’s the information you need to choose between Altium Designer and Zuken.

Choosing Between Altium and Zuken

Altium Designer and Zuken are both standard features any PCB design engineer needs to create schematics, their layout, and plan for manufacturing. The standard features you’ll find in both programs include:

Supplier management in Altium Designer

Components and bill of materials management in Altium Designer

What is Missing from Zuken?

Altium Designer and Zuken both contain the standard PCB design features any designer needs to create a schematic and layout. However, Altium Designer has many more advanced design tools for more complex board designs. These advanced features are integrated into Altium Designer, providing data management, multi-board design, collaboration, and full mechanical integration in your design software.

Screenshot of the MCAD collaboration interface in Altium Designer

ECAD/MCAD collaboration in Altium Designer allows design teams to create packaging alongside your circuit board.

Advanced Electronic Design in Altium Designer

Altium Designer and Zuken are both excellent PCB design packages. Both are easy to learn and use for everyday PCB design tasks. However, Altium Designer contains many more advanced features than Zuken. These features enable greater design productivity and data management tasks that are not possible in Zuken. Altium Designer provides these advanced design and management features in a single software application, ensuring you remain productive while designing cutting-edge technology. Compared to Zuken, Altium Designer provides more advanced features that are easy to learn and use.

Features and Benefits of Altium Designer

Altium Designer provides all the standard schematic and printed circuit design features you expect to find in any electronic design automation software program. You’ll also have access to advanced design features that you won’t find in Zuken. The schematic design, schematic capture, stackup design, layout, routing, and simulation features are integrated into a single software platform, allowing you to design more advanced boards with peak productivity. The components management and production planning tools in Altium Designer are ideal for data management and sharing, helping you smoothly transition to a full-scale manufacturing.

Altium Designer’s new materials library allows you to easily select from a large number of common materials for building your printed circuit board. Ground plane and signal layer design within your layer stack is easy with Altium Designer’s stackup manager. The schematic capture tool then imports your components into a new board layout. Once you’ve finished your layout, you can then take your design data and immediately import it into simulation, verification, and manufacturing planning tools. You’ll be able to move through the entire printed circuit design process with ease when you use Altium Designer.

As an example of the advanced features available in Altium Designer, you’ll have access to several extensions that are ideal for specialized applications. The xSignals, TASKING, PDNA, and IPC Footprint tools integrate into Altium Designer. Zuken doesn’t contain many of these important features, forcing you to use multiple software applications in your workflow. All these features are built on top of a rules-driven design engine, which allows all these features to be accessed within Altium Designer’s unified environment.

The electronic design automation and production planning tools in Altium Designer are much more advanced than those found in Zuken, but they are still easy to use. The newest features in Altium Designer provide real-time ECAD/MCAD collaboration tools across design applications. You’ll also have access to important supply chain and design data management features. These tools are accessible alongside a full suite of PCB design tools in a single software application. No other PCB design software package offers this level of flexibility as Altium Designer.

Altium gives you the resources you need to design your next printed circuit board for any application. You’ll have access to the AltiumLive forum, an extensive knowledge base, and technical white papers with plenty of design tips, podcasts and webinars with industry experts, and design tutorials. No other PCB design software company is this invested in your success.

Altium Designer has set a new standard in PCB design integration and analysis. By integrating your layout, schematic design, data management, and simulation features into a single platform, you can easily pass design data between these important design features and take control over all aspects of your next product.

About Author

About Author

Zachariah Peterson has an extensive technical background in academia and industry. He currently provides research, design, and marketing services to companies in the electronics industry. Prior to working in the PCB industry, he taught at Portland State University and conducted research on random laser theory, materials, and stability. His background in scientific research spans topics in nanoparticle lasers, electronic and optoelectronic semiconductor devices, environmental sensors, and stochastics. His work has been published in over a dozen peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings, and he has written 2000+ technical articles on PCB design for a number of companies. He is a member of IEEE Photonics Society, IEEE Electronics Packaging Society, American Physical Society, and the Printed Circuit Engineering Association (PCEA). He previously served as a voting member on the INCITS Quantum Computing Technical Advisory Committee working on technical standards for quantum electronics, and he currently serves on the IEEE P3186 Working Group focused on Port Interface Representing Photonic Signals Using SPICE-class Circuit Simulators.

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