So you want to invest in the semiconductor sector but don't know where to start? There's a new exchange-traded fund for you, my friend.

The Philadelphia Semiconductor Sector Index has been tracking chip stocks since 1993, but there has been an inexplicable lack of ETF securities following this index. When it opens to trading this Friday, the iShares PHLX SOX Semiconductor Sector Index Fund will be the first leverage-free SOX tracker on the market.

It's actually not an entirely new ETF, but a renamed, repurposed, and completely overhauled version of the existing iShares S&P North American Technology -- Semiconductors (NYSE: IGW) fund, set to trade on the Nasdaq under new ticker SOXX. The PHLX index is a shorter list than the S&P semiconductor index previously used.

The new ETF drops a few familiar names including wireless communications expert Skyworks Solutions (Nasdaq: SWKS) and interconnect specialist LSI (NYSE: LSI) from its coverage while adding other name-brand tickers like audio hotshot Cirrus Logic (Nasdaq: CRUS) and memory veteran SanDisk (Nasdaq: SNDK). Either way, you're still getting the same fundamental core with chip giants Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) and Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN) to name a few.

I wouldn't sweat the differences too much -- you can always start with a broad ETF like this one and tack on what you see as the strongest components or missing links on top of that. It's a great way to dip your toes into a new sector and get familiar with the general business climate and trends. And semiconductor chips are at the very foundation of an ongoing high-tech revolution. Whether you prefer picking chip stocks one by one or by the basketful, this would be a great time to get started.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. Intel is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Motley Fool Options has recommended buying calls on Intel. The Fool owns shares of Intel and Texas Instruments. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days

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