Tear free desktop on Intel graphics

Aug 11, 2020 22:48 · 223 words · 2 minute read intel xorg

Excerpt from man intel, option “TearFree”: Disable or enable TearFree updates. This option forces X to perform all rendering to a backbuffer prior to updating the actual display. It requires an extra memory allocation the same size as a framebuffer, the occasional extra copy, and requires Damage tracking. Thus enabling TearFree requires more memory and is slower (reduced throughput) and introduces a small amount of output latency, but it should not impact input latency. However, the update to the screen is then performed synchronously with the vertical refresh of the display so that the entire update is completed before the display starts its refresh. That is only one frame is ever visible, preventing an unsightly tear between two visible and differing frames. Note that this replicates what the compositing manager should be doing, however TearFree will redirect the compositor updates (and those of fullscreen games) directly on to the scanout thus incurring no additional overhead in the composited case. Also note that not all compositing managers prevent tearing, and if the outputs are rotated, there will still be tearing without TearFree enabled.

Enable tear free

Add a separate configuration file in the .d config folder.

cat <<EOF | sudo tee /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-tearfree.conf
Section "Device"
    Identifier "Intel Graphics"
    Driver "intel"
    Option "TearFree" "true"

Restart Xorg.

sudo systemctl restart gdm

And log in again.