I few answers from my viewpoint.
I do have some quick questions regarding this drive for all you guys way smarter than i:
(1) Do i need to install any kind of SSD management software for the SM951? i am using the Intel Latest INF package for my MB.
No management software needed. Just load the drivers supplied with the MB. Your MB has the Ultra M.2 (PCIe 3.0 X4) slot so you can achieve max speeds.
(2) Are any of you actively cooling this thing? the tweaktown review said this SM951 gets toasty under load. i was planning on putting some memory heatsinks on the 3 main chips but would appreciate any pictures of your proven solutions before i get my gorilla hands on this tiny thing.. The XP941 is much hotter than the SM951. I would not put any heat sinks on the 951. It was designed just as is. We all know Samsung builds a great SSD.
(3) Similar to (2) above, i moved my graphics card from PCI-E 1 to PCI-E 2 so it wasnt covering up my M2 slot and helping with airflow. am i losing any graphics performance by doing this with a single card? my reading says i get 16 pipes either way but what i dont know about x99 architecture would fill a large library....
No, you will see no difference moving your card.
I put my dual 290x card (Devil 13 Dual core) on a 3.0 X8 and saw maybe a 1-2% drop in benchmarking. Keep in mind this was two 290x's on one 3.0 8x slot. So, a single GPU card will see almost no difference vs. a 3.0 16x slot. Bottom line, the PCIe 3.0 slots have a enormous about of bandwidth.
Hope this helps