Absorbing boundary conditions are widely used in numerical modeling of wave propagation in unbounded media to reduce reflections from artificial boundaries (Lindman, 1975; Clayton and Engquist, 1977; Reynolds, 1978; Liao et al., 1984; Cerjan et al., 1985; Randall, 1988; Higdon, 1991). We are interested in a particular absorbing boundary condition that has maximum absorbing ability with a minimum amount of computation and storage. This is practical for 3-D simulation of elastic wave propagation by a finite-difference method. Peng and Toksoez (1994) developed a method to design a class of optimal absorbing boundary conditions for a given operator length. In this short note, we give a brief introduction to this technique, and we compare the optimal absorbing boundary conditions against those by Reynolds (1978) and Higdon (1991) using examples of 3-D elastic finite-difference modeling on an nCUBE-2 parallel computer. In the Appendix, we also give explicit formulas for computing coefficients of the optimal absorbing boundary conditions.