By Louis Navellier for InvestorPlace

NEW YORK ( InvestorPlace) -- This has been the year of tech stocks, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq up more than +17% compared with +12% gains for the S&P 500. On top of those gains, there has been a host of high-tech buyouts, from the Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) buyouts of 3Par and Palm to Intel ( INTC) acquiring McAfee.

But there are many reasons to expect that 2011 will be even brighter for tech stocks -- particularly well-run penny stocks in the technology sector. That's because these small, agile companies can really take advantage of a strategic niche, a new technology or an overall updraft in the economy in ways big blue chips cannot.

Related Article: A Tiny Company Called Microsoft is your Best Buy Right Now

If you're looking to add some low-priced, high-tech stocks to your holdings for the new year, consider these 7 top penny stocks to buy now:

Powerwave Technologies ( PWAV)

Powerwave is a global company that provides end-to-end wireless solutions for wireless communications networks. Its products are used in wireless networks globally. Since January, this penny stock has gained an impressive +100%, compared to gains of +17% and +11% for the Nasdaq and Dow, respectively. Importantly, PWAV has outpaced earnings estimates for two consecutive quarters.

Tower Semiconductor ( TSEM)

Independent specialty foundry Tower Semiconductor is dedicated to the manufacture of semiconductors. Year-to-date, TSEM has jumped +43%, compared with much smaller gains by the broader markets. In its last income statement, Tower reported a year-over-year quarterly revenue growth of +69%. Currently, Tower trades at $1.29, with a 52-week range of 93 cents to $1.87. Consider buying this inexpensive stock now while it's still at the low end of its range and approaching new highs.

Related Article: Find out the 10 FREE stock picks that make up's Best Stocks for 2011.

ChipMOS Technologies ( IMOS)

Holding company ChipMOS Technologies engages in a number of testing services, such as engineering testing, wafer probing and final testing of memory and logic/mixed-signal semiconductors. Since January, the penny stock has doubled. In the short term, IMOS stock is up +16.4% over the past three months. It is also important to note that ChipMOS reported a year-over-year quarterly revenue growth of +41% in its last income statement.

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