I recommend to those may want to get into mining right now to simply buy ZCash outright. Since it’s impossible to get GPU’s at anything that comes close to a fair price and that ZCash is so low right now, the potential for future profits favors cash into ZCash. Moreover, and if the profiteers and gougers were not an insult enough, the difficulty levels facing miners now are the highest they’ve ever been.
Consider buying 4 untis of ZEC at $980 (price right now) versus getting one 1080ti GPU. The ZEC or the GPU are the same in price…one is a good deal the other is a perversion. That GPU will get you at best 700sol/s which means you have to mine 24/7 for approx 3.5 to 4 months to get one unit of ZEC. Since they burn 250 watts of power - and power isn’t free unless you steal it - you’ll use about 630kw of electricity in the time it takes you to mine one ZEC. This is another 75 bucks or so in power using “average” costs. But keep in mind that the difficulty will grow and things always take longer and cost more even when you take into consideration that it takes longer and costs more.
It’s safe to argue that you’ll mine 16 months or more to get the same 4 ZEC you can buy right now today. Will you get a grand for the 1080ti 16 months from now? I don’t think so, but you can sell it then and offset your 350 bucks in power bills you paid along the way to feed it.
So let’s say that I buy ZEC and you buy GPU and that ZEC goes to 1000 in 16 months. I made three grand and you have a 1080ti, 350 in power bills you paid and 4 zec too. You might sell the GPU and get some of your money back for it which will offset your power costs, but to make the same potential profit you’ll have to sell it for quite a bit.
My recommendations are to buy outright, especially if the price of ZEC goes lower. If you’re mining already, then keep going - or sell your gear and buy directly too. Of course, if GPU’s were priced fairly and bought easily, then it would be a different matter.
tl/dr: We’re at the tipping point where ZEC price, mining difficulty and GPU price profiteering/gouging favor buying ZCash directly instead of mining it.