SOURCE: Altium Limited

November 28, 2005 09:00 ET

PCB Enhancements Head Altium Designer 6.0 Release

Reduces Design Time for Dense PCBs and Increases Efficiency for Working With High-Speed Digital Signals

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- November 28, 2005 -- Altium Limited (ASX: ALU), a leading developer of Windows-based electronics design software, today announced the release of Altium Designer 6.0, the next version of its groundbreaking unified electronic product development system. Altium Designer is the first product to unify the design process, integrating PCB design, the design of programmable devices such as FPGAs, and the development of embedded software for processor-based designs.

The release of Altium Designer 6.0 is the sixth product update in two years and includes significantly strengthened support for dealing with very dense board designs, and working with high-speed digital signals. It provides a host of new features and enhancements that significantly improve the ability to manage and navigate complex multi-layers boards, work with components on both sides of a PCB, and deal with dense packaging technologies such as high pin-count ball-grid arrays (BGAs). Historically, many of these advanced PCB design technologies have typically been limited to 'premium' PCB design products that are prohibitively priced for the vast majority of engineers. However, in line with Altium's core philosophy of making electronics design easier, Altium Designer 6.0 makes state-of-the-art design features accessible to every engineer.

Altium Designer 6.0 introduces system-wide support for differential signaling, allowing full definition, management and interactive routing of differential signal pairs for high-speed interconnects. Support includes automatic mapping through to the physical design of LVDS signals defined within an FPGA project. LVDS is the most commonly-used standard for differential signaling and is widely available on programmable devices. Altium Designer allows engineers to take full advantage of the extensive differential I/O pins found on today's FPGA devices.

"Board design today is focused on propagating high-speed data streams between large-scale, densely-packaged and tightly-spaced devices," said Nick Martin, CEO and founder of Altium. "With Altium Designer 6.0 we've focused on providing designers with an integrated set of technologies that allows them to efficiently deal with the complexity that this brings, at all levels of design and throughout the entire electronic development process."

Altium is focused on simplifying complex design tasks. Typical of this approach is the new Board Insight™ system available in Altium Designer 6.0, which turns the designer's mouse cursor into an interactive data mining tool. Board Insight combines a 'heads up' information display with the ability to effortlessly browse and edit multiple, stacked objects in a design. This allows a designer to stay focused on their immediate editing task, while providing full access to information about any objects within the target region and increasing editing speed in dense, multi-layered design.

Routing to dense BGA-style packaging has been made significantly easier in Altium Designer 6.0 with the inclusion of a powerful 'escape routing' engine that attempts to route each used pad to just beyond the edge of the BGA boundary. This saves significant design time, eliminating the need for a designer to manually route through a maze of pads to connect to interior pins on these devices.

Altium has been very pleased with early customer responses to the new release, many of whom have worked closely with Altium throughout the Altium Designer 6.0 beta program. Typical of feedback received, Craig Wiper, Senior PCB Designer, General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems commented, "Altium's done it again! With the new features of Altium Designer 6.0 such as the ability to flip the printed circuit board environment with a keystroke, automatic pin swapping, database libraries, and Smart-Paste, to name a few, my design job has suddenly become that much easier."

Altium Designer 6.0 will significantly reduce design time for dense boards containing high pin-count component packages. It simplifies design navigation with complex boards and enables designers to efficiently work with high-speed differential signals, particularly the extensive LVDS resources available on large-scale programmable devices. Working with Altium Designer 6.0, engineers can shorten time-to-market with more efficient design flows and lower production costs by fully utilizing available board real estate with modern packaging technologies. Altium Designer 6.0 enables designers to meet today's -- and tomorrow's -- electronic product development challenges.

Customers can see for themselves the benefits that Altium Designer 6.0 brings to electronic product development, by going to and viewing the comprehensive range of product information and an extensive set of on-demand video presentations. The videos, presented by Altium applications engineers, detail the new and enhanced features of Altium Designer 6.0 and allow customers to experience the system in action.

PCB-focused highlights in Altium Designer 6.0

--  Full system-level support for differential signaling
--  Automatic mapping of FPGA differential signals to matched physical
    differential pairs
--  Full design rule support for differential signals
--  Board Insight interactive PCB information and navigation system
--  Automatic BGA escape routing engine
--  Automatic completion of partial routes
--  Dynamic net reallocation to facilitate signal swapping on passive,
    multi-part and programmable components during routing
--  Ability to flip the entire board design to make working with bottom
    layer components easier
--  A new design 'Snippet' feature that allows sections of a design to be
    stored for easy reuse in the future
--  Schematic 'Smart Paste' allows transformation of objects during copy
    and paste
--  Support for TrueType fonts on PCB designs and manufactured boards
--  Interactive Knowledge Centre that provides real-time, context-
    sensitive help and shortcut information during editing processes
About Altium Limited

Altium Limited (ASX: ALU) is a global developer and supplier of electronics design software for the Microsoft Windows environment. Founded in 1985, Altium released the world's first Microsoft Windows-based printed circuit board design tool in 1991, and continues to provide advanced, easy-to-use and affordable software design tools for complete electronic product development to electronics engineers, designers, and developers worldwide.

Altium is headquartered in Sydney, Australia, with sales and support offices in Australia, the United States, Japan, China and Europe -- as well as maintaining a large reseller network in all other major markets.

For more information please visit

Altium, Altium Designer, Board Insight, CAMtastic, CircuitStudio, Design Explorer, DXP, LiveDesign, NanoBoard, NanoTalk, Nexar, nVisage, P-CAD, Protel, Situs, TASKING, and Topological Autorouting and their respective logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of Altium Limited or its subsidiaries. All other registered or unregistered trademarks referenced herein are the property of their respective owners, and no trademark rights to the same are claimed.

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