Faster is better. Here are two ways to improve performance in OpenOffice.org: changing memory settings, and not using the JRE (Java Runtime Environment).
Memory Settings Sugree at howforge.com had a good experience adjusting some of the options that I recommend for improved performance. He has a nice set of info, from Linux Journal, for specific settings.
Choose Tools > Options > OpenOffice.org > Memory and set the following options.
Number of steps = 20 (or fewer--most of us don't use that many)
Use for OpenOffice.org = 128 MB
Memory per object = 20 MB
Remove from memory after = 00:10 hh:mm
Cache for inserted objects
Number of objects = 20 (or try fewer)
Here's what it looks like. Click the window to see a larger image since the amounts don't really show up very well.
Now, I haven't played around enough to know how this will affect other applications you're using at the same time. But give this a whirl and see how it works for you.
JRE (with a warning) I was reminded of this by Neil.
Choose Tools > Options > OpenOffice.org > Java. Unmark the Use a Java Runtime Environment option.
Here's what the window looks like; click it to see a larger version if you like.
Neil also warns that when you don't use the JRE:
Wizards don't work
The database functions don't work
You can't save in some of the funky formats like Pocket word.
So if you're going to spend the day doing hard-core work with big spreadsheets, go ahead and turn off the JRE, but turn it on the next day when you're going to be creating lots of databases with the wizards.