Altium vs. OrCAD / Allegro – Which PCB Design Software Do I Prefer?

I regularly use OrCAD and Altium to do hardware PCB designs. I have more experience in Allegro and OrCAD than I do in Altium and like both for different reasons.

One question people occassionally ask me is “Kirsch which software do you prefer?” or “Kirsch, which one would you recommend for my situation?” and my answer changes depending on who needs to benefit.

In this blog post, I’d like to highlight the main reasons I choose one ECAD software over the other. More details will be added to this post as I gain more time to fill out the details.

  • User experience: Altium
  • Simulation: Allegro / OrCAD
  • Overall horsepower: Allegro and OrCAD
  • Job opportunities: Allegro/OrCAD
  • Aesthetics: Altium
  • Computer Performance per watt: OrCAD
  • Collaboration: Altium
  • Freelance: Altium
  • Trust and certainty my design will be fabricated properly and work: OrCAD and Altium. Slightly more OrCAD.

My opinions will change as I gain the same level of experience in Altium as I have in Allegro and OrCAD (10 and 4 years, respectively).

If you want to try out Altium Designer for yourself, use this special link to get the FREE 15-day Altium Trial. And follow my FREE Online Course for Altium Designer – PCB Design Fundamentals Tutorials for Beginners (Altium 21 or 20).

And if you prefer trying out OrCAD, then check out the Free Trial of OrCAD Pro. You can also follow my FREE Online Course for OrCAD.

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