This paper presents an evaluation of several block-matching motion estimation algorithms from a system-level VLSI design viewpoint. Because a straightforward block-matching algorithm (BMA) demands a very large amount of computing power, many fast algorithms have been developed. However, these fast algorithms are often designed to merely reduce arithmetic operations without considering their overall performance in VLSI implementation. In this paper, three criteria are used to compare various block-matching algorithms: (1) silicon area, (2) input/output requirement, and (3) image quality. Several well-known motion estimation algorithms are analyzed under the above criteria. The advantages/disadvantages of these algorithms are discussed. Although our analysis is limited by the preciseness of our silicon area estimation model, it should provide valuable information in selecting a BMA for VLSI implementation.