What would you consider hot for a external surface tempurature

I have a new fleet of Dell Latitude 7370  laptops that are having lots of issues with the USB-C devices.  I am using Dell Dock WD15 USB-C Thunderbolt and DA200 USB-C to HDMI,VGA,NIC and VGA. With both devices I  lose network connection and/or additionally other connected USB device(e.g. mouse and keyboard).  When I look in Device Manager I do not see the Realtek Gbe USB, but when I unplug and plug it back in the devices appears and works fine.  The majority of the pattern is lengthy usage and the bottom external temperature is 120ºF.  The device has plenty of air flow around it.

I think that temperature is really hot.
What do you think?
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yo_beeDirector of Information TechnologyAsked:
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Dr. KlahnPrincipal Software EngineerCommented:
120 degrees at the case indicates that the components inside the case are hotter than that.  I consider that excessive for a laptop by simple test: I don't want it on my lap at that temperature.

imo:  I have found docks that do more than supply power and connect to monitors to be inconsistent in operation.  A dock doesn't turn a laptop into a desktop.  Laptops are not intended nor constructed to function as desktops.
Mal OsborneAlpha GeekCommented:
The CPU is the component generating the most heat in that laptop. It is rated to run as hot at 100C, an external temp a bit under 50C is not a problem. Just a hot day in many places.

Modern "laptops" can easily generate enough heat to cause serious burns. What makes this worse, is that the damage is often not noticed at the time, it is kinda like spending a few hours at the beach and not realising you are sunburnt. 50C air against bare skin for a few hours can cause serious burns; clothes are recommended, or better still, desks.

yo_beeDirector of Information TechnologyAuthor Commented:
I do agree with the  purpose of a laptop. They are not meant as a replacement for a desktop. These people are in and out of their office all day so they need to mobility.  

The Dock is more a port replication than a dock.  It is a USB-C device that supplies power for charging, Display (VGA and Display Port), USB devices like keyboard and mouse, and network connectivity while in their office.  

As I am leaning at temperature is the cause to this failure.  I am going to get a cooling mat and see if that stabilizes the one that is having issues.
If so I want Dell to admit that there is a flawed design and that is the cause of the poor performance and functioning.
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
It's normal to get warm but 120 is a bit hotter than I'd like to see the actual case.

There are two areas that tend to generate the bulk of heat in a laptop => right over the CPU, and the hard drive.  

The CPU can easily reach temperatures well above 120, but that should NOT be transmitted to the case, since the heatsink and fan should dissipate the heat, and as long as it's working correctly, the fan should turn on when the CPU's running at a high enough utilization to start generating heat beyond its idle state.     Note that cooling should be fairly good on this unit, since the M3/M5/M7 series CPU's used on that unit have very low TDP's (3.5 - 4.5 watts, depending on which CPU you have) ... so it should be easy to keep the temps down in the case.

The other area that can get very warm on a laptop is the area where the hard disk is -- especially if you have a traditional hard drive.   These can easily get close to the 120 degree level you're seeing; and there's no fan to help cool this, so if you have a hard drive that's running warm, that could cause the case to get very warm.    If you have an SSD, this isn't likely an issue, as they run much cooler.

Note, by the way, that the worst thing you can do with a laptop is to put it on your lap :-)    That tends to restrict what little airflow it's designed for, and can exacerbate thermal related issues.    (Doesn't sound like that's the case here.)

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often the video chip can run hot also; in many cases it is also cooled by the fan
you said " Latitude 7370  laptops that are having lots of issues with the USB-C devices"   do you have the problem also without the dock?
or the temperature problem?
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
There's not a dedicated graphics chip in this series -- they use the integrated Intel graphics.

I also found a review on Tom's Hardware site that clearly shows 120 is too hot ... the review complains about it hitting 102 => their reviewing "comfort standard" is 95.    Note that it only hit this when doing an extended stream of an HD video -- something that would stress both the CPU and the integrated graphics.

Here's what they said:   "... The Latitude 13 7370 got a bit toasty when we streamed HD video from Hulu for 15 minutes. The touchpad was cool, at 76.5 degrees Fahrenheit, but the underside hit 102 degrees, which is over our 95-degree comfort threshold. The spot between the G and H keys also surpassed that comfort zone, with a measurement of 96.5 degrees."
that comes in handy in winter time...
Get an additional external laptop fan cooling unit.  120ºF is too hot.  They've run the clock speeds too high on this model or used the wrong CPU.
yo_beeDirector of Information TechnologyAuthor Commented:
I am seeing in the event logs:

Source: Kernel-Processor-Power
Event id: 37
"The speed of the processor 0 in group 0 is being limited by the system firmware.  The processor has been in the reduce performance stat for 4 seconds since the last report."

Not sure if this is a cause, but it is not an event I have seen until these computers.
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
According to the specs on these models, they all use either M3, M5, or M7 CPU's, which are all very low power units.   In addition, they apparently all have SSDs, which eliminates what I suggested earlier r.e. the hard drive contributing much to the heat level.

SOMETHING is definitely not right with the temperature you're seeing.    I wonder if your USB devices are drawing too much power from the USB ports and causing the USB chips to get seriously hot.    Do you still have thermal issues if you do NOT use any USB devices?    That's not a "solution" ... but may isolate the issue to the USB-C power draw.
yo_beeDirector of Information TechnologyAuthor Commented:
I do recall when I am using this with nothing attached the device does get very warm/hot.
if you still have warranty - turn it in for repair
yo_beeDirector of Information TechnologyAuthor Commented:
Thank you all for your input.
I divided it up equally and I hope Dell fesses up to a possible design flaw.
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