You correct, i never realised...
Snapshots aren't standalone copies of the database, they appear much more complicated and still require the use of the original MDF file. For this reason they cannot be used on any other physical server than the one they were created on.
As long as physical resources such as processor power are not a problem you can however attach the snashot to a new database on the same server which may yield performance improvements in regards to locking.
I haven't had time to read them properly myself but here are a few links which look like they explain how it works and what they can be used for quite well...