The last few months haven't been kind to investors in general, but growth-oriented types have taken the biggest lumps.

Compare, for example, the performance of the iShares Russell 1000 Value (IWD) -- an exchange-traded fund (ETF) with top holdings that recently included the low-P/E likes of ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) and Citigroup (NYSE:C) -- with that of iShares Russell 1000 Growth (IWF), an ETF that specializes in racier fare such as Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Genentech (NYSE:DNA), two companies with five-year earnings-growth estimates in excess of 20%.

No one has made out like a bandit, of course, but as this chart illustrates, the cheapskates have left the daredevils eating relative dust of late.

Make like Evel Knievel
Painful though it's been, the markdown in growth stocks is actually good news for long-term types, who can prepare for the next bull run by scooping up tomorrow's high-fliers at today's discounted prices. With that in mind, now is a great time for folks who consider themselves to be "value" investors to jump the Snake River Canyon of rigidly defined investing profiles and give growth stocks in general and the tech sector in particular a good long look.

Tech's go-go reputation is belied these days, after all, by some seriously juicy bargains. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and EMC (NYSE:EMC) -- two fat cash cows with stellar track records of delivering for shareholders over time -- both currently trade at prices well below their respective 52-week highs, and Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) is on sale, too: Its current P/E falls below that of the broader market, its typical industry peer, and its own five-year average to boot.

That said.
As recent history -- not to mention the sector's pre-millennium meltdown -- suggests, tech investing can be fraught with peril. It's for that reason that I think mutual funds represent the smartest way to take advantage of the sector's recent underperformance. Going with funds means you'll be able to enjoy both the valuation advantage that many tech companies currently sport as well as the smoother ride that comes with the greater diversification of mutual funds.

Not coincidentally, in the issue of the Fool's Champion Funds newsletter that hits the streets this Thursday, I zero in on three actively managed picks that currently run with big slugs of technology stocks. These are high-quality keepers, helmed by managers with battle-tested strategies and lengthy track records of success. Their price tags are reasonable, too, and that goes double for the pair of tech-heavy index picks I also highlight in the newsletter's next installment.

If you'd like to snag the issue -- as well as our complete list of recommended fund and model portfolio lineups -- not to worry: Just click here, and a 30-day Champion Funds guest pass is yours for the taking. There's no obligation to subscribe, so give it a whirl and see if you can't put it to good use. Provided you know where to look, bargains are everywhere these days, and the next issue of Champion Funds provides a veritable road map for one of the market's most intriguing blue-light aisles.

At the time of publication, Shannon Zimmerman didn't own any of the companies mentioned. Microsoft and Dell are Inside Value picks. Dell is also a Stock Advisor pick. You can check out the Fool's strict disclosure policy by clicking right here.