Speaking as a fairly new user of Allegro, (I'm still going through the pain of transition from PADS), I would make the following comments. Firstly, if you are upgrading from a BASIC pads installation to Allegro then you are streets ahead, if you are upgrading from a fully configured PADS seat then you are probably still ahead, but only just. Bare in mind that a fully configured PADS seat costs a small fraction of a top end Allegro at full list price, (as someone already mentioned, about the same as your Allegro support conract)Originally posted in cdnusers.org by redfish
I can understand the guy's frustration if he's only spent a little time on Allegro, the user interface is very primative for what is supposed to be a high end tool, and full of holes for what should be very basic editing functions, it's nice that the interface is user configurable but it shouldn't HAVE to be before you can use it efficiently, (and it's not the most robust piece of software I've ever used). There are very few things that you can do in Allegro that you can't do in PADS, (and I would guess Cadstar, haven't used it for a good few years but PADS and Cadstar were always about neck and neck), some things are easier and some aren't.
The real winner for us, and the reason we changed over, is the use of constraint manager and the ability to set up the design from Concept HDL, (I won't tell you what our engineers feel about that tool however, as it just wouldn't be polite :)), PADS does have the ability to constrain a design in many of the same ways, (but not enough), and it is so unwieldy to do that setting up and controlling all the interactions required make it virtually unusable.
The upshot is that if you want to just do board designs, (of any complexity), then PADS is one of the best tools on the market, it's cheap, (relatively), it's easy to use, (although you'd be surprised how few people seem to know how to use it properly :), it's stable, (or was until Mentor started playing with it!), basically it just works. If you want a powerful integrated, (and I use the term loosely), system then Allegro is some way ahead.