Intel graphic - Xorg config for screen tearing

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If your graphic card was manufactured in 2007 and newer, try uninstalling the xserver-xorg-video-intel package and use the builtin modesetting driver (xserver-xorg-core) instead.

    this quote is from Debian graphics document

There are two kinds of drivers that you tell Xorg to use for Intel graphic (integrated one - iGPU):  intel and modesetting.


The driver comes with the xserver-xorg-video-intel package of Debian.

With my old PC using Haswell 4th gen Intel CPU, all I have to do is add  this file /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-intel.conf with the content:

Section "Device"
  Identifier "Intel Graphics"
  Driver "intel"
  Option "TearFree" "true"

and the screen tearing has gone.

This method is applicable  because the driver x86-video-intel supports the “TearFree’’ function and the driver also works well.

However, this driver is really buggy with the iGPU that comes with my Intel 12th. The videos appear severely stuttering in one app, flickering in another app. Unusable I must say!


The modesetting driver that comes with the xserver-xorg-core package is now the recommended one if you are using a newer version of Intel graphics.

You either remove the xserver-xorg-video-intel package to make the system fall back to the modesetting or explicitly tell it to use modesetting by adding /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-intel.conf with the content:

Section "Device"
  Identifier "Intel Graphics"
  Driver "modesetting"

You can use inxi -G to check which driver are loaded.

 Display: x11 server: X.Org v: driver: X:
    loaded: modesetting

Everything runs smooth with this driver for me, however, it does not come with the “TearFree” option. (Actually the newer version of monosetting will have “TearFree”; as I use Debian, I have to use what it has.)

A way to overcome screen tearing is using a compositor like picom which I use with my Openbox setup.

Add these lines to your picom config file at $HOME\.config\picom\picom.conf

opengl-swc = true;
vsync = true
backend = "glx";


So, for screen tearing, you either use intel driver with “TearFree ‘’ option or use modesetting driver with a compositor.

Which way to recommend? I really do not know, I read extensively on topics discussing these and found mixed result, some leaned toward one some leaned toward the other.

Just try it for yourself like I did, intel for me was very buggy and modesetting fortunately works wonder (I use Intel 12400 with Intel UHD Graphics 730 for your reference).

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