You can do the usual -xms and -xmx options. To speed startup, -xms may be what you want - it gives Eclipse (well, any Java program to which the option is passed) a specifiable amount of memory to start with. If you know Eclipse always gets to (say) 120Mb memory you could use java -xms120m to allocate it that much initially.
Other than that, you can up Eclipse in general by:
disabling large plugins you don't use
closing or removing projects you aren't actively working on
using the -server option to java - I find this helps even though Eclipse isn't really used as a 'server' (in this context, 'long-running') program.
This is all I'm aware of though I'm not hugely experienced with Eclipse so there is probably more to it than this!
Something is very very wrong. My machine (935MHz P3 / 512M RAM) is not nearly as fast as yours and Eclipse starts up in 16 seconds cold and 9 seconds warm. I wonder if you're inadvertently doing some network access; the delays you mention sound suspiciously like default IP connection timeout values.
Co-author of <a href="http://www.jdg2e.com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">The Java Developer's Guide to Eclipse</a>, 2nd Edition<br />(Yahoo group <a href="http://groups.yahoo.com/group/JDG2E/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">JDG2E</a>)
Joined: Mar 15, 2004
Dan (W) - Two other things that occurred to me...
Do you have a massive project/s? I mean, a large number of files in the workspace? My P4/2Ghz/512 RAM starts up in around 30 seconds (cold) with a project that has ~1500 classes and ~1000 other files in the workspace. That could be affecting it.
Do you have "build automatically" turned on? That "feature" slows Eclipse down to the point of unusability for me. You can turn it off in Window->Preferencses->Workbench menu item->Build Automatically.
I think these are more runtime concerns than startup, but there ya go