Which is Best: Mentor PADS PCB Design Software vs Altium PCB Design Software

Zachariah Peterson
|  Created: February 2, 2018  |  Updated: August 22, 2019

If you are tired of jumping back and forth between PCB design tools that use different data models, take a look at Altium Designer; a PCB design platform that has been designed to work the way you need it to.


The most powerful, modern and easy-to-use PCB design tool for professional use.

When you are creating a PCB design, you need design tools that can keep up with you. You need powerful tools that work smoothly together with each other, tools with advanced functionality, and tools that can handle all of the design challenges that you will face. Where many other design systems will fall short of these goals, Altium Designer excels at them.

From the powerful 64-bit platform that features a unified design environment, combined with advanced functionality and a set of core tools that can handle any design challenge, Altium Designer is the tool set that professionals like you will choose. We know that you have a mountain of work in front of you, and the last thing you need is a PCB design tool that serves more as a roadblock then a help. You need a design system that will help you to conquer that mountain on schedule and under budget. You need Altium Designer.

Altium Designer: Powerful PCB Design in a Unified Design Environment

If you’ve been limited by PCB design software whose tools weren’t originally designed to work together, then we understand your frustration. Having to jump to and from one application to another can be both time consuming and error prone. This is why we created Altium Designer; to provide engineer’s like you with a design tools based on a unified design environment as a solution. With Altium Designer you can easily open schematics, layouts, drawings, simulators, and bill of materials all from within the same session.

You don’t need to shut anything down nor do you need to translate files, you just open up what you need to work on and get busy. Not only that, but based on a powerful 64-bit multithreading architecture, Altium Designer has the horsepower to get you where you need to go. And when you get where you are going you don’t have to worry about what comes further on down the road because Altium is committed to continually enhance and update Altium Designer to handle the next generation challenges as they come along. With Altium Designer you can put the frustrations of past design tools behind you.

Put the Power of Altium Designer to Work for You

Board layout, components and component information, or design team review are all manifestations of the design process that need to be accounted for within your PCB design software. Your circuit board deserves the best chance to succeed, and using the best layout tools available will make sure that you are giving it its fair opportunity.

Many CAD softwares will claim that they’re the best, but between their price and cost to the moment when you download is a time where you have to discover how much they truly care about your circuits. Altium Designer is constantly being improved and enhanced to provide you with the most powerful design tools that you can get.

Screenshot of AD18 displaying schematic and layout together

A unified design environment encourages designers to run multiple tools together


Advanced Features for Comparison Criteria

One thing is constant in the world of PCB design, and that is change. Fortunately with Altium Designer you have a wealth of advanced feature sets that will help you grow with the PCB design industry as it changes. Altium Designer will important your mechanical data enabling you to view and verify it with your PCB layout in 3D for complete confidence in your design.

You also have the ability to import and work with multiple designs within a single design session so that you can see and verify the form fit and connectivity of all of your system boards. Altium Designer also gives you the ability to simulate and analyze your design. Altium Designer is fully loaded with state of the art features that will help you to stay ahead of the competition by providing the advanced design tools you need to finish your designs correctly and ahead of schedule.

Using Altium Designer’s Advanced Features to Ensure Design Integrity

At the end of the day, without smart design rules your designs could end up faltering despite how much expertise you have and how much attention you’ve paid. Use PCB design software which enables any board to be as functional as designed.

Between highly functional and organized libraries to footprint creation, Altium Designer provides you with the tools you need to not only design your PCB, but to check, verify, and analyze it to make sure that you’ve created the design that you intended to.

Screenshot of AD18 displaying 3D image of a layout

Altium Designer’s advanced 3D engine allows you to fully check your layout


The Best Quality PCB Design Tools

At the end of the day one final question remains, and that is can you design with it. The answer is, with Altium Designer you will have the best quality PCB design tools on the market today to do the job. Starting with the schematic, Altium Designer gives you the ability to create complex hierarchical designs that will save you design time as you consolidate circuitry. From there you will be amazed at the scope of functionality available to you for PCB layout in Altium Designer.

With Active Route you will be able to create precise manual looking trace routing results with the speed of an auto router. Finally, when it is time to button up the design and send it out to be built, you will really appreciate how Draftsman in Altium Designer gives you the ability to automatically create superior looking manufacturing drawings. From start to finish, Altium Designer has the core design tools that you’ve always wanted in a PCB design system.

Altium Designer’s Schematic and Layout Will Get the Job Done

Whether it is through smart schematic capture software or through intuitive and easy constraints editing, Altium Designer will be able to ensure that your designs are the best that they can be. A printed circuit board has many moving pieces in it and being able to fully trust your CAD software will be the first step in designing a strong electronic product.

Trust in the generative capabilities that Altium Designer gives with its unified design environment and with how high-functioning CAD software can work to make your data and files communicate easily. Using Altium Designer you can jump into your next PCB design with confidence knowing that the best schematic and layout tools available are under your control.

Don’t let using yesterday’s tools block you from conquering that mountain of work that is before you. Switch over to Altium Designer and put the power of a PCB design system designed to work smoothly together to work for you.

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 2500+ 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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