Key Takeaways

  • Altium and OrCAD are both powerful EDA software tools, catering to different needs and preferences.
  • Altium offers a more comprehensive suite of features, including advanced design capabilities, a larger component library, and a robust simulation engine.
  • OrCAD, on the other hand, is known for its user-friendliness, intuitive interface, and affordable pricing.


Altium vs. OrCAD: A Comparison of Leading EDA Software Tools

In today’s fast-paced technological landscape, circuit board design plays a critical role in developing and manufacturing electronic products.

With the increasing complexity of electronic systems, choosing the right EDA software tool is crucial to ensure efficiency, accuracy, and productivity in the design process.

Two prominent players in the EDA market are Altium and OrCAD, each offering a unique set of features and capabilities that cater to specific needs and preferences.

In this comprehensive comparison, we will delve into the strengths and weaknesses of Altium and OrCAD to help you make an informed decision for your EDA software needs.

Features Overview

Altium Designer

  • Advanced design capabilities, including advanced routing tools, 3D modeling, and high-speed design support
  • Extensive component library with over 100,000 models from leading manufacturers
  • Powerful simulation engine for accurate analysis of circuit performance
  • Integrated version control and collaboration tools


  • User-friendly interface with a customizable workspace
  • Intuitive schematic capture and PCB layout tools
  • Comprehensive library of components, symbols, and footprints
  • Integration with third-party design tools and simulation software

Performance Comparison

Design Capabilities

Altium Designer’s advanced design capabilities give it an edge over OrCAD when it comes to handling complex circuit boards.

Its routing tools are more sophisticated, allowing for greater flexibility and precision in trace placement.

The 3D modeling feature provides a realistic representation of the board, enabling designers to visualize and verify their designs before manufacturing.

OrCAD, while not as feature-rich as Altium, offers a solid set of design tools that are well-suited for medium-complexity boards.

Its schematic capture and PCB layout tools are intuitive and easy to use, making it a good choice for beginners or those who prefer a less cluttered interface.

Component Library

Altium Designer boasts a much larger component library than OrCAD, with over 100,000 models available.

This extensive library gives designers access to a wide range of components from various manufacturers, reducing the need to create custom components or search for models elsewhere.

OrCAD’s component library, while smaller, still contains a substantial number of models that cover most common components used in electronic design.

Simulation Engine

For accurate analysis of circuit performance, Altium Designer’s simulation engine is a valuable tool. It provides detailed reports on circuit behavior, including voltage, current, and frequency analysis.

This helps designers identify potential issues early in the design process, reducing the risk of costly errors during manufacturing.

OrCAD integrates with third-party simulation software, such as Cadence PSpice, for simulation capabilities.

Price and Licensing

Altium Designer is a more expensive software compared to OrCAD. However, it offers various licensing options, including perpetual licenses and subscription-based models, to cater to different budgets and usage patterns.

OrCAD, on the other hand, offers a more affordable pricing structure, making it a more cost-effective option for small businesses and individual designers.

Market Share and User Reviews

In terms of market share, Altium has a larger global presence, particularly among large and enterprise-level companies due to its comprehensive feature set and advanced capabilities.

OrCAD, while having a smaller global market share, is popular among small and medium-sized businesses and educational institutions due to its user-friendliness, affordable pricing, and ease of use.


Both Altium Designer and OrCAD are excellent EDA software tools, each with its own strengths and target audience.

Altium Designer is the superior choice for demanding design projects that require advanced capabilities, a large component library, and accurate simulation.

OrCAD, on the other hand, is a more user-friendly and affordable option that is well-suited for medium-complexity boards and entry-level designers.

Ultimately, the best choice for you depends on your specific needs, budget, and design requirements.

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