I'm looking to replace a much loved and hard worked 4 year old XPS 15 (9550) and although I like the look of the newer XPS 15 models there's one issue which has bothered me for a while. To keep the laptop thin and light a lot of connections have been off-loaded onto a Thunderbolt dock (DA-200 adapter).
Although this adapter supplies four connections (ethernet, USB, HDMI, VGA) for most of the time I only make use of the ethernet port; I use the USB occasionally when I plug in my phone or a USB drive. I have never used the video ports because they don't support 4K output, so my external monitor is connected to the HDMI output from the laptop which does.
While everything works, the area of the laptop where the dock plugs in gets very hot. It's always been the warmest part of the laptop but for the last six months it has been incredibly hot. It's the dock, not the HDMI port, which is responsible, because if I disconnect the dock and run without a network connection the temperature is 20-30 degrees lower.
I've cleaned the laptop fairly thoroughly but this makes no difference to the overheating problem.
Anyone else noted this? Are the newer XPS 15 models likely to be any better?
@TrevorN first just to clarify, the DA200 is not a Thunderbolt dock. It uses regular USB-C rather than Thunderbolt, and a dock typically implies that it charges the system. The DA200 is basically a multi-purpose port replicator, and as you noticed it's limited to 1080p output. There's also a newer DA300 that does support 4K even at 60 Hz, although that capability requires a system that supports DisplayPort 1.3 or better over USB-C, which even the current XPS 15 doesn't. However, the DA300 would support 4K 30 Hz from the current XPS 15 and in fact even your own XPS 15 9550. That would match the capability of your system's built-in HDMI output, which is also limited to 4K only at 30 Hz because 4K 60 Hz over HDMI requires HDMI 2.0, which the XPS 15 didn't get until the 9570 generation.
Anyhow, if you can wait a while to replace your XPS 15, I would strongly recommend doing so. Dell hasn't refreshed the XPS 15's design since the 9550 you already have, so it's been quite a while (a surprisingly long while, in fact), and that plus the fact that the XPS 13 just got a refresh suggests that the upcoming XPS 15 will be a redesign. I also personally wouldn't want to buy a laptop in 2020 that only had a single USB-C/TB3 port. I know the XPS 15 has a proprietary charging port, but it's handy already today to be able to use a standard USB-C charger on the go and still have another port left for a peripheral, display, or adapter like the DA200/300 -- and the more prevalent USB-C devices become, the more handy having more than one of those ports is going to be.