low fps simulation

I have a dell studio 1558 laptop with an i7 720qm, ati hd 5470 (1G) and 4G ram.
When I run a simulation which contains thousands of particles is very slow (only 0.20 fps). Is this normal?
I have another laptop with a core2duo 2.1G and 256M ati hd 2400 and I have 0.20 fps too.
I come from softimage xsi and there all simulations are in real time. So what’s the catch?