Altium’s Product Releases And Updates

Altium is one of the leading PCB software design tools on the market. They’re working on several great products, and we’re proud to announce the lineup! Big thanks to Ben Jordan, Senior Product Marketing Manager, who discussed Altium’s upcoming software with us. Altium Designer has been Altium’s flagship product for decades. Now they are adding three more products: CircuitMaker, CircuitStudio, and PCBWorks.

All four tools have support for 3D models in components and a 3D view mode in the PCB editor. All come with the topological auto-router as well and a design rule system for guiding layout and validating designs for release. All can generate ODB++ and Gerber outputs for fabrication.

Want to learn more about Altium’s products? They’ll be attending the San Mateo MakerFaire May 15–17 at the San Mateo County Event Center. They’ll be at Booth 2427 in the expo hall on both Saturday and Sunday.

CircuitMaker

Suitable For:
Makers
Capabilities:
This free software comes with the same schematic capabilities as Altium’s PCB editor. It comes with full 3D support—a first for free software within our industry. What really sets CircuitMaker apart is that it is community-oriented. All projects created are public: others can see it, and make comments. You could even invite them to work on the project with you! This cloud-based system of sharing also allows users to copy designs and fork it—or edit and add your own features to it. Schematics are stored internally, but projects are all open.
Release:
Fourth beta to debut at the San Mateo Maker Faire

CircuitStudio

Suitable For:
Users who don’t use PCB design tools everyday; those working on 2–3 boards a year.
Capabilities:
This software is based on Altium Designer schematic and PCB editor. With a completely new menu and interface, this software is more user-friendly than ever. CircuitStudio is essentially the same as CircuitMaker in capability only for commercial, closed-source PCB design, where the files and libraries are all managed locally. Everything is updated in real time.
Release:
February 2015

PCBWorks

Suitable For:
PCB Designers
Capabilities:
PCBWorks is in the final stages of beta testing. Includes several high-powered PCB capabilities many PCB Designers require: incorporating BGAs, length-tuning, differential pairs, and 3D capabilities, which include previewing changes and linking the 3D model directly to the footprint. PCBWorks aims to solve the disconnect between ECAD and MCAD. It allows the mechanical and electrical to work together in a closed-loop environment. It is already getting great feedback and results from PCB Designers.
Release:
End of May 2015

Altium Designer 15.1

Suitable For:
PCB Designers
Capabilities:
Altium Designer is great for power-users, and users who design PCBs on a daily basis. This update includes general maintenance, making it more reliable, and faster. New and existing features include rigid-flex modeling, multiple layer stack support, advanced high-speed features, xSignals Wizard, and editing in bulk. Share your 3D PCB design with anyone using the 3D PDF feature. New productivity features include reusable pad and via libraries, and polygon pour checks.
Release:
May 5, 2015

Component Libraries

CircuitMaker component libraries are all managed through the community using a part aggregator called “Ciiva,” and use the same library formats underneath for symbols and footprints as Altium Designer does. CircuitStudio and PCBWorks use the same library file formats as Altium Designer and can link to suppliers optionally, and are privately managed. CircuitStudio and PCBWorks also can take components from the Altium Vault, and Altium’s Content Vault (which currently has approximately 300,000 components available).

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