Allegro vs. Altium: Which is the Best PCB Design Software?

The allegro vs. Altium debate rages on as the two are some of the best PCB design software. But which of the two is better? Which one should you opt for in design and assembly-specific scenarios?

There is an extensive array of PCB software tools that most users don’t know which one to use. But today, we’ll limit ourselves to two of the best in the market. 

Hence, please read this article for a detailed revelation of each software package and its features.

Cadence Allegro PCB Designer

Allegro is Cadence’s main PCB design program, which is widely renowned for its exquisite features, such as high-speed design properties.

The Allegro PCB designer is also suitable for any PCB project, whether simple or complex. 

The Cadence PCB design handles everything from scratch. It is also an innovative PCB design software with in-design analysis tools that help it seamlessly compare your previous to present PCB design. 

The above property is imperative in the Allegro PCB design as it ensures you can easily create something new by building on what is on its repository. 

Key Features

A PCB Design Engineer. 

A PCB Design Engineer. 

  • Its Scalable PCB Layout is one of the standout features of the Allegro PCB editor tool. Hence you can create a  high-performance board as it allows you to perform all the necessary tests during the PCB editing phase. 
  • Secondly, it’s perfectly fit for High-Speed (Or Even ‘Low-Speed’) Design interfaces, meaning it’s compatible with all sorts of RAM boards. This tool is ready whether it’s PCIe, DDR2-5, or both USB versions. 
  • It is the go-to tool for designing the in-between parts of a PCB, such as the cavity space and clearance. With the tool, you can easily set up other features like the layer stack-up, and it’s also the ultimate software for implementing additional design rules. 
  • The Allegro documentation editor comes in handy for the requisite documentation files. This helpful documentation feature is automatic, meaning the system saves every task you undertake.  
  • Thanks to its extensive components library, the cadence PCB Library Creator allows users to develop 2D and 3D models simultaneously. Also, the allegro component library is rich in ready-to-use MCAD and ECAD models. 
  • The software also has an Analogue RF feature, so you can easily check out and modify the details of specific PCB parts like filters and couplers. 
  • Again, through the Allegro Symphony Team Design, you can have other members contribute to a project by having each person focus on a particular area. The team design option further means the participants will simultaneously work on a project. 
  • Cadence understands the hectic of designing the field programmable gate array (FPGA). They have an FPGA planner tool useful in tracking every part of the process, such as assigning pins and layout design changes. Therefore, it is seamless for numerous designers to work on an FPGA project. 

Why Choose Allegro PCB Designer? (PROS)

PCB Designers at work. 

PCB Designers at work. 

  • Tasks such as Phase tuning and creating delays using the Cadence Allegro tool are seamless because of the software’s automatically interactive commands. 
  • Also, it features a Keysight ADS interface which is fundamentally significant in PCB design and optimization. 
  • Thirdly, Its design automation software package is also effective in Gerber files document editing. Also, all the drawings and other activities on the files, such as editing, are trackable and easy to access. 
  • Its other standout property is the DesignTrue DFM technology, which ensures all your complex designs using the software follow the standard industry rules. 
  • Further, the users can obtain real-time constraints data in their designs which is imperative in confirming whether one is operating as per the rules. 
  • Finally, this is the ultimate solution to interconnections and interactive routing during the design phase. With the Allegro PCB designer, you can set up high-speed designs easily thanks to the software’s interface, which facilitates this process. 

Cadence Allegro Cons

  • Coming up with the software’s library symbols takes a lot of work and requires some expertise. 
  • Also, the Allegro PCB designer is not easy to set up for novices. Again, learning how to overcome the True Circuit Design Challenge takes quite some time. 

Altium Designer

Altium Designer has many advanced features that make PCB design quite a breeze. Among its remarkable properties is user-friendliness, even to newbies without prior experience. 

Its performance is also exemplary, with the software featuring properties like DRC and interactive routing that are both handy in design. Also, for those who love to customize design software to their liking, the Altium designer has got them covered. 

Its 3-D functionalities are also top-notch, and you can’t help but enjoy its other exemplary perks, such as active supply chain management. 

Altium Designer’s Key Features

A PCB Designer at Work. 

A PCB Designer at Work. 

  • One of the true circuit design challenges is coming up with high-speed designs, but this is nothing to Altium designers. Thanks to its exemplary tuning options, the software has all the requisite tools to overcome the signal integrity hurdle synonymous with such designs. 
  • Secondly, it keeps you updated on everything about the supply chain of parts you’re using. The updates are real-time and include details such as Bill of Material data. So you’re simply in constant interaction with parts suppliers. 
  • The library of components by the Altium Designer is simply inexhaustible. Moreover, it provides various design options to create components from templates and add them to the library. 
  • Among the electrical constraints in PCB design is that you’re likely to bend a rule unknowingly, which will affect your circuit’s functionality. But with the Altium designer, this is an impossibility as it helps you keep tabs on all the electrical rules during your design. 
  • Also, the software helps you ensure you have the right clearance of the circuit board via its synchronization with apps such as Autodesk Inventor, Creo, and SOLIDWORKS. 
  • Multilayer designs are hard to create, but this is seamless with the Altium designer software. The board system has a simple mechanism that separates the layers into structural and electrical parts. 
  • Again, routing in all types of PCB, including Castellated Circuit Boards, is easy with Altium Designer. You can easily define the paths to connect the nodes in your design and then check if they are feasible.
  • Finally, Draftsman drawing is possible with the Altium designer. This feature makes drawing your drafting design mechanically easy on the Altium limited draftsman drawing document. 

Why Choose Altium Designer? (PROS)

A PCB Design. 

A PCB Design. 

  • Design processes such as topographical routing and creating obstruction clear connection paths are straightforward to realize with the Altium designer. 
  • Also, the software provides real-time design updates, helping users identify design errors and rectify them on time. 
  • You can also outright change the user interface, which is cardinal in ensuring you’re not barred by limitations resulting from the UI. 
  • Further, it facilitates cooperation via its interactive team-based communication center, where different individuals can share their insights on a project. 
  • The application also allows the users to check out the workability of their design from an MCAD integration. 
  • Finally, the suppliers’ bill of materials feature and live updates enable users to complete their projects on time. 

Cons of Altium Designer

  • Even though Altium Designer is a great tool, some users have reservations about its simulation results. The complainants say the software should deliver better results based on its costs. 
  • It is a relatively pricey software making it unaffordable for individuals on DIY projects. 

Allegro vs. Altium: Main Differences

Complex PCB patterns. 

Complex PCB patterns. 

  • Altium provides more exquisite 3D views than Allegro, making the former the more effective tool in diagnosing board tolerances. 
  • Files edits with Allegro are faster and more convenient thanks to its mouse filter, which facilitates easy mouse movement in intricate designs. 
  • There are also profound differences in the net coloring of Allegro vs. Altium. In the Allegro, you can make wholesome changes to the entire net, while Altium only allows color modification of individual units. 
  • An Altium file format is such that on file features all the footprints of a library. However, Allegro Electronic Design Automation Software is more flexible. It allows users to form a file for every component. 
  • Altium is better than Allegro in workspace personalization. Thus with Altium, you can easily set up the interface to your liking, which is cardinal in eliminating distractive clutter on the UI. 
  • Still, Allegro has modification capacity thanks to its command console property which also offers customizations to your keys. It also makes setting up functionalities such as checking the recent actions easy. 
  • Altium is expensive compared to Allegro. Although each software has its unique share of features, the cost is quite an issue especially given that Allegro can do almost everything Altium can. 

Other Alternative PCB Design Software

An electronics design factory. 

An electronics design factory. 


Given its range of features and relatively lower system requirements, it is an excellent alternative to Altium and Allegro.

Also, it allows customization, and its performance is exemplary, even when dealing with sophisticated designs. 

But you need to pay a huge premium to access the high-end features of the software. 


It is cheaper than the expensive Altium, making it an ideal option for designers operating on a low budget who want to access great features.

Eagle also offers way better simulations than Altium, and its interface is great to use, even for newbies. 

Nonetheless, it cannot match the high-speed digital processing features and other properties of superior software like Altium. 

Circuit Studio

Allegro vs. Altium

It is software by Altium with fewer features than its mother software. It has most of the features that Altium offers, but its limitation is that it cannot handle some file formats and all projects. 

Also, it compels its users to manually create a library and paste components on it during design, a limitation that is absent with Altium. 


It is fast software and a perfect fit for many projects due to its numerous features. Also, the software comes in different versions to suit different individual needs making it more adaptable. 

Allegro vs. Altium: Kicad

The software comes free, which means it has some limitations compared to others at a premium price.

But despite its apparent limitations, it’s the best option for basic projects, which explains its popularity with DIY Electronics Industry enthusiasts. 

Allegro vs. Altium: Pads

Although it is a complex program, it is easy and straightforward. Also, even though it is not as good as Altium, it has some remarkable top perks, such as enabling FPGA design. 

Other features of the program include scalability, Component Information Management, and FPGA I/O Optimization. 

Allegro vs. Altium: Solidworks pcb

It is an exemplary CAD design program that grants its users an excellent 3D viewing angle.

Simulation on the software is also a breeze, but still, it cannot match the range of features available with superior software like Altium. 

So, Which One Should You Pick?

Allegro vs. Altium:  PCB design layout routing process in specialized software. 

PCB design layout routing process in specialized software. 

We don’t have an outright favorite, as each program has unique features. Nonetheless, if you’re on a budget and want to utilize a wide range of PCB design features, we advise you to take Allegro. 

But if you don’t mind breaking the bank, take Altium and enjoy this application’s endless editing possibilities. Also, thankfully, both programs give you a free trial offer.

So consider checking out which works best for you before committing to a long-term deal. 


PCB design tools are simply inexhaustible. But picking the best for the task at hand remains a headache for most designers. 

Now with our elaborate discussion between two of the best in the market, your decision-making will be far easier. 

Thanks for your time and for reading to the end. All the best in your PCB design endeavors.