"and that was from the same dvd which did up a dell laptop where that one has no issues with the new iso"
the video card on the dell is the same as on the other? if not, then this doesn't help, that is probably the case, each machine is a different case so we can't generalize here
"I do plan to get back to my main one sometime, it's back in no updates land"
pclinux is a rolling release distro, or you update it or you install form a new iso, how long has it been since you updated it? have you installed kde 4.8.3?
you are not giving real information about the hardware on each machine and the exact problems so information that could be gathered here is not useful because we don't know the exact problem on the exact hardware, just that you say that you have many machines and have problems with them
i would post the exact machine and the exact problem, also if you burned the iso on the same burner, i would try to burn it on another burner, you don't say if it is a old burner but i think it could be so discard all possible sources of problems
that would also mean that you could try a liveusb install but all this ideas apply when you attack one problem at the time, not the way you are doing it now