A detailed analysis of using three-dimensional electronics (3DE) to build a high-performance computational system has been completed. The overall goals were to maximize system performance, minimize system redesign, and optimize 3DE costs. Reliable and high-quality power distribution was identified as the most critical technical issue, with thermal effects being important as well. The use of 3-D vias on a standard grid is shown to be a valuable design option. A 3DE-based system using a three-tier 3DIC design (called a 3DC64) was defined and evaluated. Raw performance for the 3DC64 is expected to be up to 2 that of the current system (2DC64). The 3DC64 also demonstrated clear improvements in more critical metrics such as operations/watt and operations/dollar. Based on this analysis, some suggestions for research initiatives and optimum use of 3DE are made.