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We carried out a comprehensive study on the impact of size-dependent subband structures on the ballistic silicon nanowire transistors. One of the prominent features was that the injection velocity could be improved, owing to the increase in the source Fermi level measured from the conduction band edge. Moreover, because of the trade-off between the density of states and the gate capacitance, the source Fermi level showed a peak, indicating the optimum wire size for a field-effect transistor. Finally, our results revealed that this trade-off relationship as a feature in nanowire transistors should be considered for the size-dependent performance assessment.