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Extreme designing

Technology is driving pcb design towards greater productivity and capabilities. By Graham Pitcher.

Open up pretty much any electronics based product and you'll find a pcb within. That pcb will be housing a range of electronics devices, all of which are either getting much smaller, much smarter or both. Not only do board designers have to deal with the constraints of smaller components, larger pin counts and – generally – smaller boards, they also have to complete their designs quicker than ever before.

As if that wasn't enough, design often proceeds in parallel. If the board houses an fpga, for example, it's quite possible that one person is designing the fpga at the same time as another is laying out the pcb. A small change in the fpga's pin out could mean major headaches for the layout designer.
And the same holds true if a complex board has been partitioned between a design team. Changes in one area of the board could have major implications for the other designers. So it's no surprise to see eda developers coming up with solutions to these problems – although not always as quickly as users might like.

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Graham Pitcher

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