I prefer the GNOME desktop, especially if you need compiz to work flawlessly. Also once you download the CD, you can install it once you have loaded the desktop (it will take a while). Don't get disappointed by how it first looks...it is really good to lookat once you optimize it. Also make sure you update everything before you install the GPU drivers (install the kernel updates etc first).
But you're right; GNOME works better with Compiz-Fusion.