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Altium versions 'best practice'

ErikAltium , 09-29-2020, 04:29 AM
Hi all,

I'm new to this forum and also quite new to Altium Designer. I do have 10+ years of experience with various other ECAD tools (Eagle, Kicad, OrCAD, Pulsonix).
While learning the pro's and con's of Altium and searching online I get the impression that many engineers stick to older versions of Altium, I assume because they are more stable.

What's your best practice, do you update AD as soon as an update is available, are there some 'go-to' versions that are considered the most stable?
I probably don't need the latest updates for my daily work, but it feels strange to switch back to e.g. AD17 because it contains less bugs..
WhoKnewKnows , 09-29-2020, 07:52 AM
I usually avoid immediately updating on a major version increase, like from 19.x.x to 20.x.x. Usually, I wait until 1 or 2 releases after a major. Additionally, I try to avoid updating in the middle of a project I'm trying to complete.
ErikAltium , 09-29-2020, 01:53 PM
Okay that makes sense. Have you ever reverted to older versions?
WhoKnewKnows , 09-29-2020, 07:25 PM
I haven't.

Also worth noting, newer versions can be installed along side previous versions.

Also worth noting, If you install more than one Altium version, and then open a Altium associated file from windows (double-click), windows will use the latest version of Altium to open the file.

Also worth noting, Of particular concern is if the user opens a project originating in an older version with a newer version, the newer version of altium will make changes to the project, even if the user doesn't save anything. Then, if the user tries to open the project with an older version, the user receives a warning, or worse, that the project is from a newer version of altium.
qdrives , 10-01-2020, 02:22 PM
As @WhoKnewKnows mentions, you can install multiple versions side by side.
I generally install the new Altium as it comes, but start only by testing/comparing. Switching generally only after a first or second (bugs) update.
From 10 to 17 it was generally a continues improvement. With AD 18 it went downhill, AD19 was better and wit 20 you may argue what you want/need.
I personally like a lot of the newer feature of AD20 compared to 17, but on 'snappyness', AD17 was better.
WhoKnewKnows , 10-01-2020, 03:01 PM
One wonders what about 64 bit program development Altium might have missed.
ErikAltium , 10-05-2020, 01:48 AM
Thanks @qdrives and @WhoKnewKnows, that's a good idea to run 'stable' and 'latest' versions side by side.
robertferanec , 10-05-2020, 10:05 AM
We have been designing boards in AD14 for a very long time, even when AD17 was out. Currently we are designing in AD20, and the reason is because I needed a quick implementation of "everyone working from home" ... so we are using A365.

1) As other said, I would never use the just released new big revision ... always full of bugs. It is needed to wait for at least first 2 patches
2) AD18 was bad ... really bad, do not use it
3) If I would not be creating youtube videos, my company would be probably running AD17.

Updating every year is not necessary, actually to be honest, sometimes updating can be frustrating (renaming features, moving menus, changing algoritm, changing defaults, what used to work doesn't work any more, ...). That is why we kept using one version for a long time - we knew that version very well with all the bugs and work arounds, we knew where everything was and how it worked .... and ... very important ... no surprizes (e.g. we were 100% sure manufacturing outputs would be correct).

Working with the same AD version can be more efficient than updating.

But, this is just my opinion.

PS: Oh, did I mention, the new altium feels slower than the old ones? Or, is it just me?
qdrives , 10-05-2020, 11:36 AM
Originally posted by robertferanec

PS: Oh, did I mention, the new altium feels slower than the old ones? Or, is it just me?
No, from AD18 onwards it is a lot slower, except perhaps repouring polygons and rule checking. That is why I said that the snappyness of AD17 was better.
Now, almost every click you do, Altium has to think....
JohnsonMiller , 11-09-2020, 07:47 AM
Are you familiar with Pulsonix? Can you compare it with AD? A friend of mine suggested this tool, but I personally believe AD is much more powerful, what you say?
ErikAltium , 11-09-2020, 08:11 AM
Originally posted by JohnsonMiller
Are you familiar with Pulsonix? Can you compare it with AD? A friend of mine suggested this tool, but I personally believe AD is much more powerful, what you say?
A bit off-topic, but in my opinion Pulsonix has an even steeper learning curve than AD, not sure why. Also, Pulsonix' look & feel is not as 'fancy' as AD.
When starting with AD I was a bit surprised by the large number of bugs/error messages that I encounter even for basic functions. I don't have that experience with Pulsonix. Pulsonix feels a bit more conservative, but in this case that's not at a bad thing; it makes it (feel) robust.

I was about to say that the 3D view in AD is a large advantage, but it seems that the latest versions of Pulsonix also offer this.

In my experience, Pulsonix is not used a lot in the industry. AD/Eagle/KiCad are (much) more known and popular, both in DIY-world and in the professional industry.
I would only be tempted to switch to Pulsonix if I needed to re-use parts of an existing design which was made in Pulsonix.

Note, this is just my opinion, not based on facts..
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