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Altium - free version

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I'm sure many of you keep an eye on the EEVBlog forum and may know already, but it looks like a free version of Altium is coming.




tldr; The model is that you can rent extra features temporarily. The catch is that your board files are stored online only - no local saving.


I've not used Altium but look forward to giving it a try if I have time.

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Altium is great. I used it at uni. So I went and bought a student license. The only downside I see is that the student license is like 10% of the cost of an individual license.


In fact it's cheaper if I kept re-enrolling at uni to satisfy a student license. :$

at the expense of the cost of re-enrolling? :blink:

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The present retail price of Altium is $9250 USD.


If you are a "service bureau" then you can ask for a discount. It is possible to get up to 45% as that discount.


The student price is $110 USD.


Altium is a no nonsense program and a very useful tool. Some people and companies base their entire business model on what they can produce with it. This is how the price is justified.

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I've heard that the "free" version of Altium (1) won't be Altium at all, but something else (2) will only save to the cloud and (3) will only run under Windows.

It kind of has to be a different name since altium has to keep its share holders happy. They wouldn't understand the benefit of a FREE version.


Truth is, it isn't release. Nobody really knows yet.


Initially it will likely only run in windows since Altium is windows only. But depends how they develop it. If it is a different product they could potentially make it Xplatform.

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The links above have all that info. Everything can change, but it's more than just rumour. It's called Circuit Maker and will be in beta soon. It's Windows only. The plan is to save to the cloud only although that seems particularly unpopular with the EEVBlog crowd. That could change but it seems core to their idea so I doubt it.

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I have taken a glance on their website, and I came to a clear conclusion.


this is not a free product


It's a free to use below-bare-metal framework for EDA on top of which modules for real functionality can be purchased.

Te say that it's free is as saying I get a free crate of beer, but I have to buy the beer separately, I just get the crate for free. Oh and the crate is not mine, I cannot keep it, just as I cannot keep my own EDA drawings with Circuit Maker.

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