As an investor, it doesn't pay to follow the crowd.

In this series, though, we highlight a possible exception -- the collective wisdom of our CAPS community. Read the next section if you're unfamiliar with our methodology. Skip it if you want to go straight to the results.

Why this crowd is different
Jumping into a stock because your rich neighbor did, or because you heard about it from your friend's uncle who used to work on Wall Street, or because CNBC has been talking about it nonstop is a recipe for disaster.

If there's one thing I've learned as a stock analyst, it's that any stock can be gussied up to sound like a world-beater. If there's a second thing I've learned, it's that being a smart person doesn't make you a good investor.

In the hands of a smart person with good communication skills, the never-were and never-will-be stocks sound like tickets to instant fortune. The ancient Greek philosophers made the distinction between rhetoric and knowledge. The former is convincing; the latter is true.

That's why we factor in track record in our Motley Fool CAPS community. We invite everyone to give stocks an outperform (i.e., a "buy") or underperform rating (i.e., a "sell") in CAPS. We then use those opinions to calculate a rating for each stock -- from one to five stars (five being the best). But -- and this is a big distinction -- we give more weight to the opinions of folks whose picks have performed well in the past.

The top 10 semiconductor and electronics buys
So, with that methodology as prelude, I present to you the top 10 stocks that are involved in the semiconductor or electronics industries based on the number of CAPS members who have rated the stock an outperform. I only included four- and five-star stocks (i.e. consensus buys).

Company

Market Capitalization (in millions)

Outperform Picks

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

Intel (Nasdaq: INTC)

$108,743

7,219

****

NVIDIA (Nasdaq: NVDA)

$5,304

4,979

*****

Suntech Power Holdings (NYSE: STP)

$1,620

4,234

****

Dolby Laboratories (NYSE: DLB)

$3,101

3,378

*****

MEMC Electronic Materials (NYSE: WFR)

$2,397

1,906

****

Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM)

$62,827

1,809

****

Applied Materials (Nasdaq: AMAT)

$15,290

1,769

****

Hurco Companies

$116

1,619

*****

Yingli Green Energy

$1,619

1,594

****

Atheros Communications

$1,836

1,564

****

Source: Motley Fool CAPS.

More CAPS members think Intel is a buy than any other semiconductor or electronics stock and has garnered a four-star rating. Do you think the rankings are wrong? Make your thoughts known in CAPS by clicking here. Or just go there to do further research on one of these popular stocks.

Anand Chokkavelu owns shares in NVIDIA. Intel is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Suntech Power Holdings is a Rule Breakers selection. Dolby Laboratories and NVIDIA are Stock Advisor recommendations. Atheros Communications and Hurco Companies are Motley Fool Hidden Gems choices. The Fool owns shares of and has written puts on Intel. Motley Fool Options has recommended buying calls on Intel. The Fool owns shares of Atheros Communications and Qualcomm. The Fool has a disclosure policy.