Power-management chips just aren't sexy. International Rectifier (NYSE: IRF), which specializes in that type of semiconductors, is followed by a measly cadre of eight analysts, while RF Micro Devices (Nasdaq: RFMD), with its similar size but a more headline-friendly focus on radio chips, has 17 of them. Twenty-three analysts follow every move of Wi-Fi expert Atheros Communications (Nasdaq: ATHR), at least until Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM) consummates its buyout of that company.

Yet all of these companies put chips inside a similar range of consumer products, including tablet computers and smartphones. It's just that International Rectifier chips handle more mundane tasks and get considerably less glory.

That's not entirely fair. International Rectifier's second-quarter report was as fine as anything we've seen recently out of the high-profile radio-chip guys. Sales jumped 34% year-over-year to $282 million, and earnings made a 59% leap to $0.62 per share. Keep in mind that the year-ago period's $0.39 of earnings per share included a $0.39 boost from a one-time tax benefit, and the gains look even more impressive.

Moreover, this company isn't married to mobile computing the way radio-chip producers are. It's still a significant end market, but International Rectifier saw its strongest gains in the second quarter from automotive, industrial, and appliance customers. Diversification is rarely a bad idea, and it's getting easy to see why audio specialist Cirrus Logic (Nasdaq: CRUS) is licking its chops over business prospects in the power-chip market.

All of the pretty-boy stocks I've mentioned here are four-star CAPS stocks, but International Rectifier has to settle for just two stars out of five. I think the company deserves more respect, and I'm throwing my all-star CAPS weight behind that opinion with an "outperform" call. Who's with me?

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.