The chips were never really stacked against the chip makers. Even when companies like Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE:AMD) and Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) were struggling with sluggish demand for personal computers, you knew you couldn't keep the semiconductor stocks down.

Things have improved for Intel over the past few quarters. After last night's upbeat mid-quarter report, it looks as if the good times will continue.

The company is now looking to produce between $8 billion to $8.2 billion in revenues during the second quarter. That's on the high end of its earlier projected range, with a surge in flash memory leading the way. The news stays good on the way to the bottom line; the company expects gross margins to stay above 60% and its tax rate to dip to 32%.

While analysts may credit Intel's optimism to gains in market share -- and that may certainly be the case with Intel nibbling away at AMD's beefy stake in flash memory -- the groundswell is far more widespread than the cookout in Intel's backyard.

The tech research specialists at Gartner are forecasting chip sales to grow by 28% this year. It's not just computers, of course. From folks picking up new cellular phones as they are being wooed by attractive rival offers (thanks to mobile portability) to early adopters scooping up nifty DVD recorders, it's a good time for most chip stocks. So let Intel take a bow, but don't forget to shine some of that light over to other players toiling away in other chip niches -- like Texas Instruments (NYSE:TXN).

Yes, it's safe to lay your chips on the chip makers these days. While Gartner is projecting a more modest 15% uptick in demand next year, the cyclical strides feel far better than the cyclical slides.

What did you think of Intel's mid-quarter report? Are you placing your chips on chip stocks? All this and more -- in the Intel discussion board. Only on

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz thinks that Intel chips are fast but that he could still cream one in a footrace. He owns no shares in any companies mentioned in this story.