Printed-circuit boards (PCBs) are at the heart of the modern electronic packaging found in almost every consumer electronics product. In essence, a PCB creates the connections between components within a system.
Mass reproducibility for circuits with even a modicum of complexity and/or speed requires a PCB-based packaging scheme. When designed correctly, PCBs bring predictability. A correct design minimizes wiring lengths and lays out the board so signal-integrity issues are controlled. It also makes it much easier to find components during troubleshooting and repair. Even high-pin-count ICs can be removed, if necessary, and replaced.
Up to about 10 years ago, advanced PCB design technologies like microvias, high-density interconnects (HDIs), embedded passives, and high-pin-count FPGAs were available primarily to power users in global organizations designing bleeding-edge products. But these design technologies are rapidly entering the mainstream, making them challenges for a broader spectrum of PCB designers than ever before.