1 - They are almost as powerful as desktops, but any workstation class laptop you get should out run your 10 year old box handily. The performance gap these days is minimal. Make sure you're getting workstation class graphics, preferable Nvidia Quadro.
2 - Laptops aren't as durable or expandable as desktops. You're not going to get 10 years out of your laptop, especially if you tote it around a lot. 5 is a long time for a laptop.
3 - We use Dells and have been very happy with them.
Processor speed is more important that number of cores with Pro/E. Your workstation is 30% faster, which would explain some of the difference. Also, you didn't indicate what type of Nvidia card you have. If it's a workstation class machine, I would assume it would have a Quadro card, not the GeForce. The GeForce cards will not perform nearly as well, I'd stay away from them.
Still, that's quite a difference. Are there corresponding differences in regen time and other tasks?
You mention that the huge delay comes when you're opening the assembly. Are you wired/wireless on your laptop when you open the assembly? At least in our environment, and our IT department can't tell us why, our wireless network is less than dependable. It may take a couple minutes to open an assembly via wireless, vs. a wired desktop. I'm not sure if there's some additional security slowing down the wireless, just a bad wireless network, etc. but I'd at least verify on your end that the problems occur both wired/wireless.
In that case, then I'd check the harddrive situation. I'm sure someone much more savvy than me can chime in, but it doesn't sound like your video card/cpu/ram is a problem.
Really, I'd first benchmark the laptop outside of Pro. Get a baseline for your components (hdd, cpu, ram, video card) using third-party tools, compare that to the norm, and see if there's any problems. If there's not, then something goofy is happening in your Pro environment, but if there is then you can begin focusing in on hardware.
Just be sure you know what you're getting in to with SSD! There's a lot of potential stability issues with SSDs. Before you went that route, at least check your current one out. And before you went directly to SSD, you could try a 10/15k hdd first.
I have these units for all Wildfire users here: Dell M6500 lap top with Nvidia Quadro FX 3800m
I have the issue stated below.
Just so you all know, I have PTC looking at this and there appears to be a problem with the system performance when running Wildfire in a linked session with PDMLink. The systems work fine outside of PDMLink. I hope to have a resolution soon. Additionally, for your information we are using Wildfire 5.0 M100 and Windchill/PDMLink 9.1 M060, IE 7 - 64 bit Windows 8.
Any one out there using the stated system and video card experinecing difficulties with the driver for the card? Is your graphics sluggish? Does the drag and drop of your insert mode move in a "one off" manner? The drive i have is dated 12\16\2009 220.127.116.1143. Is there a newer one that works. I tried a newer dell driver and one generated by Nvidia which is newer but works worse than the dell one. Additionally, I had to install a thrid party software called Riva Turner to make the original driver work slightly better. It totally sucks and both dell and Nvidia do not seem to have answers.