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3-D stacking and integration can provide system advantages. This paper explores application drivers and computer-aided design (CAD) for 3-D integrated circuits (ICs). Interconnect-rich applications especially benefit, sometimes up to the equivalent of two technology nodes. This paper presents physical-design case studies of ternary content-addressable memories (TCAMs), first-in first-out (FIFO) memories, and a 8192-point fast Fourier transform (FFT) processor in order to quantify the benefit of the through-silicon vias in an available 180-nm 3-D process. The TCAM shows a 23% power reduction and the FFT shows a 22% reduction in cycle-time, coupled with an 18% reduction in energy per transform.