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The release notes for this version of XFCE mention improved vsync support. (Though the amd opensource drivers have an option that just “fixes” vsync across the board for me, and I only use lightweight WMs that don’t do anything special to support vsync).

For what its worth, XFCE 4.14 still has tearing for me on a Skylake Intel iGPU.

  cat > /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-intel.conf <<'_EOF'
  Section "Device"
  Identifier "Intel Graphics"
  Driver "intel"
  Option "AccelMethod" "sna"
  Option "TearFree" "true"
this is what I had to do when I was using xubuntu to fix that

Since these things don't come installed by default in big distros, I can't help but think they need to introduce some big trade-offs. I don't know if doing this without understanding this trade-off is a good idea. (not saying it's not, but I don't know)

There are but the thing is - vsync is a trade-off in itself. That's why there're variable refreshrate monitors with freesync and gsync, so obviously the better solution is to use them. But intel needs to support those first. Until then... you just need to deal with either of those trade-offs[0].

[0] https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/intel_graphics#Tearing

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