Many investors believe that they have to choose between slow-growing, dividend-paying blue chips, or rapidly expanding, payout-free tech companies. That used to be the case -- but not anymore.

Just 10 years ago, even well-established, big-name, technology-focused companies like Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Applied Materials (Nasdaq: AMAT) paid no dividend. But tech investors seeking dividends will find a much more inviting situation today.

Company

CAPS Rating
(out of 5)

Dividend Yield

Payout Ratio

P/E Ratio

Microsoft

***

1.8%

27%

15

Maxim Integrated Products (Nasdaq: MXIM)

****

4.3%

348%

74

Applied Materials

****

2.1%

NM

NM

Taiwan Semiconductor

*****

3.7%

66%

18

Intel (Nasdaq: INTC)

****

2.9%

53%

19

Qualcomm

****

2.0%

36%

20

Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN)

****

1.9%

28%

15

Data: Motley Fool CAPS, Yahoo! Finance. NM = not meaningful.

As you can see, today many high-tech companies offer attractive yields. I added a little more info to the table to help you zero in on the more attractive candidates with higher CAPS ratings and lower P/E ratios. Note that although Intel and Texas Instruments have longer dividend-paying histories, their dividends were rather puny compared with the yields they offer today.

Dividend yield alone, though, can't tell you whether a stock is a good buy. Payout ratios are also worth examining, to ensure that a company isn't funneling most or all of its earnings into paying its dividend. In this light, Maxim Integrated Products' payout looks particularly worrisome; just remember that semiconductor companies are cyclical, and that their earnings can fluctuate widely with the economy. An abrupt drop in earnings will also make a P/E ratio spike -- as Maxim also reflects.

Happily, you don't have to choose between tech-heavy companies and dividend payers. You can get paid to hold these businesses, even as you take advantage of their greater growth potential.

How does dividend investing work for you? Share your thoughts in the comment box below!

Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian owns shares of Microsoft. Intel and Microsoft are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. The Fool has created a covered strangle position on Intel. Motley Fool Options has recommended buying calls on Intel and a diagonal call position on Microsoft. Try any of our investing newsletter services free for 30 days. The Motley Fool is Fools writing for Fools.