i had another go at testing it out and it still appears to be loading my 800x600 image file into the nearest POT sized texture that it will fit into...
im using this to load the textures:
InputStream in = getClass().getResourceAsStream("res/"+name);
Texture texture1 = TextureLoader.getTexture("PNG", in);
perhaps im loading the images in the wrong way?
my rendering code seems to function perfectly fine..
if i stretch the image file to 1024x1024 in my image editor, it appears as intended in my program, but if i load it from the 800x600 file it appears to be shrunk. this is why i think its a POT issue. i cant imagine its just my graphics card because i havnt noticed this problem when running anyone elses programs.