Cadence’s Technology on Tour Recap

I recently presented on high-speed materials at two of Cadence’s Technology on Tour events discussing PCB design and signal integrity analysis, and had a blast! Technology on Tour stopped at five locations across the nation throughout the end of April and the beginning of May. I was proud to be one of two guest speakers at Irvine and Westford. At both stops, my presentation was on High Speed Materials.

Southern California Recap

Several dozen people attended the all-day presentations. It was nice to network with local high-tech companies in Irvine, CA. The audience was engaging and seemed really interested in high-speed, which was great. Two great questions were posed. I’ll answer them again here:

What’s the difference between a hybrid and pure stackup?
A pure stackup has only one material type used within the board. A hybrid has two or more materials. And because materials have different melting temperatures and thicknesses, these designs require a more thorough engineering review for PCB manufacturing of PCB assembly.

Do HDI designs ever cost the same as a regular through-hole board?
Yes. If you have a six layer board, reduce it to four layers using HDI. The fewer copper layers will lower the cost. Keep in mind that sometimes using HDI is beneficial in the long run, no matter what the cost.

Massachusetts Recap

Westford, MA was well-attended: the room seemed to be brimming with inquisitive minds who were as excited as I. This was a great audience, who were very engaged and asked excellent questions.

If I mix material types, will it warp?
Mixed materials themselves don’t have a tendency to warp but like any construction un-balanced copper weights can result in warpage.

Why do fabricators prefer foil laminations to book construction?
Foil lamination produces better core registration. Etching the copper stress relieves the core so movement is more predictable. It is also easier to align the cores for lamination. With book or cap construction only one side of the layer is etched. Full copper remains on one side so it may increase the tendency for warpage. Material movement is less predictable so registration can suffer and core to core alignment is more difficult.

Cadence Updates

John Carney and Frank Zavosh discussed some of Cadence’s newest features. Check out this quick summary of Cadence’s presentations!

In the Power Integrity for PCB designers session Cadence introduced the Allegro PI base, which is a tight integration between Allegro PCB layout and Sigrity Power DC. This enables a PCB designer to do iterative DC analysis of a PCB design without having to be a guru. This session also introduced Power Integrity Constraint sets, an industry first, which guide the PCB designer on decoupling capacitor placement for each IC in the layout.

Cadence then presented Interface Based Design, a front-to-back solution for leveraging industry standard interfaces like DDR in a formalized design process. This gives the hardware designer the ability to define and use interfaces which drive the PCB layout. Tuning and matching differential delay on these signals can be a highly-intensive, time-consuming process as changing one signal in a group may impact timing on another signal in another group. To address these challenges, Cadence presented their innovative timing vision and auto interactive routing technologies, which makes it easy for PCB designers to get their job done by leveraging computing power and graphics.

“Several attendees came up to John Carney after the presentations expressing their satisfaction and excitement about this new functionality which they can deploy immediately without any training. As one attendee put it, “these features are the perfect combination of awesome, powerful, and easy.”

Have any questions about high speed materials? Leave them below!

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