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The performance characteristics of photonic-crystal light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are analyzed, taking into account the effects of both nonradiative recombination and photon reabsorption processes using multimode rate equations. It is shown that, in the presence of strong photon reabsorption, the optimum output efficiency and modulation rates are achieved when the width of the photon density-of-state distribution function is comparable to the width of the spontaneous emission lineshape of the active material. On the other hand, when photon reabsorption is weak, it becomes beneficial to construct high-Q cavities. Based on this analysis, the characteristics of different photonic crystal LED configurations are discussed.