I did download compizconfig... didn't fully understand the settings in there, tried changing a few, didn't make a blind bit of difference so I uninstalled it again and hence my question.
I'm not sure where you downloaded compizconfig from, but installing software from sources other than PCLinuxOS repositories is highly discouraged. 99 times out of 100, you can install packages from PCLinuxOS official repositories to do what you've seen elsewhere. And you can do it all by using helpful PCLinuxOS GUIs.
I don't know what video card your computer has, but going on the assumption the card is 3D capable, the easiest method to install compiz is from the PCLinuxOS Control Center. In the main window, select Hardware in the left panel, then click on Configure 3D Desktop effects.
In the Configure 3D Desktop effects window, simply click the Compiz Fusion option, then click the OK button. In the next window, any packages needed for compiz will be indicated. Simply click the OK button again, and let the GUI do all the heavy lifting for you.
EDIT: WAIT for the packages to download and install. It may appear nothing is happening at all while the "reading packages" window is open. No progress indication is given. But, be patient. Depending on the speed of your computer and internet connection, this operation may take a while. On my 800mHz PentiumIII with an ethernet cable connection, it took about 5 to 10 minutes. IT IS IMPORTANT that you not interrupt this process, once it has begun.
After the packages are installed, you will be instructed to reboot. REBOOT after closing all applications, including Synaptic. After the reboot, when you login again, compiz should already be enabled.
You will probably want to install 3 extra compiz packages, using Synaptic: compiz-fusion-plugins-main and compiz-fusion-plugins-extra, as well as fusion-icon. After installation, look in the PCLinuxOS main menu > More Applications > Configuration. You will see an entry for Compiz Fusion Icon and another for Compiz Config Settings Manager. Start the Compiz Fusion Icon application, and you will see a blue box icon appear in the system tray. Right-click the icon and there will be a lot of configuration choices of window managers, etc. The topmost choice in the popup menu is CompizConfig Settings Manager. Selecting that will give you a lot more configuration options. I would begin by checking the Gnome Compatability box in the first (General) section. Beyond that, most of the other options are a matter of taste and personal choices.
I haven't used compiz for some time, so I'm not sure of all the configuration options. This thread http://www.pclinuxos.com/forum/index.php/topic,81630.0.html
should answer some of your questions about configuration. If it doesn't answer them all, don't hesitate to ask.