See Why is video tearing such a problem in Linux? for the reasons behind why tearing is a problem in the first place, and why the usual "tricks" usually suggested (like "disable compositing", GLXVBlank true) simply don't work in general.

This question is more specific but still general enough for many users: How do you deal with tearing on Gentoo, using an NVIDIA based graphics card?

By "dealing with" I mean how do you either remove it, using some very specific setup arrived at by sheer brute force, or how do you at least minimize the effects?

I have tried both the proprietary and free drivers, different versions, different kernels, different X configurations and driver options. I have yet to try different window managers, because I simply don't have time to fiddle with that as well.

Instead of reinventing the wheel, maybe someone already knows of a good setup that will minimize these adverse effects while we wait for Wayland to get more traction. As kirill-a suggests in the other question: "So screen tearing issue may be solved by trying different drivers and configuring them."

What combination of window manager, drivers, kernel (please mention specific kernel options that are crucial), X configuration and media player will give me the best results?

  • I have no issues with KDE Stable:gentoo on Nvidia-Driver Stable:gentoo running a 3.x kernel – eyoung100 Jun 22 '15 at 2:57
  • 1
    Please elaborate. Often tearing does not show up in all types of video files. Also, sometimes it only shows up (even for the same type of video file) when there is a certain type of camera motion or movement. I would also like to know what video player, what options for the video player (cat ~/.mplayer/config for mplayer)? Any specific kernel options? What type of video files do you use? What graphics card (what Nvidia model)? – AttributedTensorField Jul 20 '15 at 21:33
  • It seems strange to me that some solutions recommend disabling compositing, while others say to enable it. – Time4Tea Mar 22 '20 at 9:16

I can't provide the information you requested in a comment, so here goes:


$ sudo lshw -C system
    description: Desktop Computer
    product: M68M-S2P ()
    vendor: Gigabyte Technology Co., Ltd.
    width: 64 bits
    capabilities: smbios-2.4 dmi-2.4 vsyscall32
    configuration: boot=normal chassis=desktop uuid=31433646-3635-3539-3430-3543FFFFFFFF 

$ sudo lshw -C video
       description: VGA compatible controller
       product: GF116 [GeForce GTX 550 Ti]
       vendor: NVIDIA Corporation
       physical id: 0
       bus info: pci@0000:02:00.0
       version: a1
       width: 64 bits
       clock: 33MHz
       capabilities: pm msi pciexpress vga_controller bus_master cap_list rom
       configuration: driver=nvidia latency=0
       resources: irq:26 memory:f8000000-f9ffffff memory:d0000000-d7ffffff memory:dc000000-dfffffff ioport:ac00(size=128) memory:fa000000-fa07ffff

$ sudo lshw -C memory
       description: BIOS
       vendor: Award Software International, Inc.
       physical id: 0
       version: FC
       date: 08/25/2010
       size: 128KiB
       capacity: 960KiB
       capabilities: pci pnp apm upgrade shadowing cdboot bootselect socketedrom edd int13floppy360 int13floppy1200 int13floppy720 int13floppy2880 int5printscreen int9keyboard int14serial int17printer int10video acpi usb ls120boot zipboot biosbootspecification
       description: L1 cache
       physical id: 8
       slot: Internal Cache
       size: 128KiB
       capacity: 128KiB
       capabilities: synchronous internal write-back
       description: L2 cache
       physical id: a
       slot: External Cache
       size: 1MiB
       capacity: 1MiB
       capabilities: synchronous internal write-back
       description: L1 cache
       physical id: 4
       slot: Internal Cache
       size: 128KiB
       capacity: 128KiB
       capabilities: synchronous internal write-back
       description: System Memory
       physical id: 1f
       slot: System board or motherboard
       size: 4GiB
          description: DIMM 800 MHz (1.2 ns)
          physical id: 0
          slot: A0
          size: 2GiB
          width: 64 bits
          clock: 800MHz (1.2ns)
          description: DIMM 800 MHz (1.2 ns)
          physical id: 1
          slot: A1
          size: 2GiB
          width: 64 bits
          clock: 800MHz (1.2ns)

Software and Drivers

$ eix nvidia-drivers
[I] x11-drivers/nvidia-drivers
     Available versions:  [M]96.43.23^msd [M]173.14.39^msd [M]173.14.39-r1^msd[1] 304.125^msd 331.113^msd 340.76^msd 343.36^msd 346.72^msd (~)346.82^msd 349.16^msd (~)352.21^msd {+X acpi custom-cflags gtk gtk2 gtk3 kernel3-13 kernel3-14 +kernel3-17 multilib pax_kernel (+)tools uvm KERNEL="FreeBSD linux"}
     Installed versions:  352.21^msd(03:35:53 PM 06/21/2015)(X acpi gtk2 gtk3 multilib tools -pax_kernel -uvm KERNEL="linux -FreeBSD")
     Homepage:            http://www.nvidia.com/
     Description:         NVIDIA Accelerated Graphics Driver

$ eix gentoo-sources
[?] sys-kernel/gentoo-sources
     Available versions:  
     (3.4.106) ~3.4.106^bs
     (3.4.107) ~3.4.107^bs
     (3.4.9999) **3.4.9999^bs
     (3.10.77) 3.10.77^bs
     (3.10.79) ~3.10.79^bs
     (3.10.80) ~3.10.80^bs
     (3.10.81) ~3.10.81^bs
     (3.12.44) 3.12.44^bs
     (3.12.9999) **3.12.9999^bs
     (3.14.41) 3.14.41^bs
     (3.14.42) ~3.14.42^bs
     (3.14.43) ~3.14.43^bs
     (3.14.44) ~3.14.44^bs
     (3.14.45) ~3.14.45^bs
     (3.18.16) 3.18.16^bs
     (3.19.8) ~3.19.8^bs
     (4.0.4) ~4.0.4^bs
     (4.0.5) 4.0.5^bs
     (4.0.6) ~4.0.6^bs
     (4.1.0) ~4.1.0^bs
       {build deblob experimental symlink}
     Installed versions:  3.17.7(3.17.7)^bs(10:31:35 AM 01/23/2015)(-build -deblob -experimental -symlink) 4.0.5(4.0.5)^bs(09:21:14 AM 07/19/2015)(-build -deblob -experimental -symlink)
     Homepage:            http://dev.gentoo.org/~mpagano/genpatches
     Description:         Full sources including the Gentoo patchset for the 4.1 kernel tree

$ eix qt-meta
* dev-qt/qt-meta
     Available versions:  (4) 4.8.5
       {+dbus examples kde openvg +qt3support +webkit}
     Homepage:            https://www.qt.io/
     Description:         Cross-platform application development framework (metapackage)

$ eix kde-meta
[I] kde-base/kde-meta
     Available versions:  (4) 4.14.3
       {accessibility aqua kdepim minimal nls sdk}
     Installed versions:  4.14.3(4)(11:31:06 PM 02/01/2015)(nls -accessibility -aqua -kdepim -minimal -sdk)
     Homepage:            http://www.kde.org/
     Description:         KDE - merge this to pull in all split kde-base/* packages

$ eix vlc
[I] media-libs/phonon-vlc
     Available versions:  0.7.2 ~0.8.2 **9999 {debug +qt4 qt5}
     Installed versions:  0.7.2(02:16:52 AM 07/20/2015)(qt4 -debug -qt5)
     Homepage:            https://projects.kde.org/projects/kdesupport/phonon/phonon-vlc
     Description:         Phonon VLC backend

[I] media-video/vlc
     Available versions:  2.1.5-r1(0/5-7) **2.1.9999(0/5-7) ~2.2.0(0/5-8) ~2.2.1(0/5-8) **2.2.9999(0/5-8) **9999(0/5-8) {+X a52 aalib alsa altivec atmo +audioqueue avahi +avcodec +avformat bidi bluray cdda cddb chromaprint dbus dc1394 debug dirac directfb directx dts dvb +dvbpsi dvd dxva2 egl +encode faad fdk +ffmpeg flac fluidsynth fontconfig +gcrypt gme gnome gnutls growl httpd ieee1394 ios-vout jack jpeg kate kde libass libav libcaca libnotify (+)libsamplerate libtar libtiger linsys lirc live lua +macosx +macosx-audio (+)macosx-dialog-provider (+)macosx-eyetv (+)macosx-qtkit (+)macosx-quartztext +macosx-vout matroska media-library modplug mp3 mpeg mtp musepack ncurses neon ogg omxil opencv opengl optimisememory opus png (+)postproc projectm pulseaudio +qt4 qt5 rdp rtsp run-as-root samba schroedinger sdl sdl-image sftp shout sid skins speex svg +swscale taglib test theora tremor truetype twolame udev upnp v4l vaapi vcdx vdpau vlm vnc vorbis vpx wma-fixed x264 x265 +xcb xml xv zeroconf zvbi CPU_FLAGS_X86="mmx sse" ELIBC="glibc"}
     Installed versions:  2.1.5-r1(02:03:10 AM 07/20/2015)(X a52 aalib alsa avcodec avformat bidi cdda cddb dbus dts dvbpsi dvd encode ffmpeg flac fluidsynth fontconfig gcrypt httpd ieee1394 jack kate kde libcaca libnotify lirc lua modplug mp3 mpeg musepack ncurses ogg opengl png postproc pulseaudio qt4 sdl speex svg swscale taglib theora truetype udev vorbis x264 xcb xml xv -altivec -atmo -audioqueue -avahi -bluray -chromaprint -dc1394 -debug -dirac -directfb -directx -dvb -dxva2 -egl -faad -fdk -gme -gnome -gnutls -growl -ios-vout -libass -libav -libsamplerate -libtar -libtiger -linsys -live -macosx -macosx-audio -macosx-dialog-provider -macosx-eyetv -macosx-qtkit -macosx-quartztext -macosx-vout -matroska -media-library -mtp -neon -omxil -opencv -optimisememory -opus -projectm -rdp -rtsp -run-as-root -samba -schroedinger -sdl-image -sftp -shout -sid -skins -test -tremor -twolame -upnp -v4l -vaapi -vcdx -vdpau -vlm -vnc -wma-fixed -zvbi CPU_FLAGS_X86="mmx sse" ELIBC="glibc")
     Homepage:            http://www.videolan.org/vlc/
     Description:         VLC media player - Video player and streamer

Notice that my kernel sources are no longer in the tree. I try to keep the kernel I built the system with (personal preference), and I use genkernel-next with the following conf file:

$ cat /etc/genkernel.conf
\# Configuration file for genkernel

# This file is sourced by genkernel at startup and determines which options
# we will be using to compile our kernel.  The order of precidence is simple,
# with the internal settings being least important, configuration file
# settings next, and command line options being most important.

# =========Common Command Line Option Defaults=========

# Should we install to $BOOTDIR?  Default is "no" because genkernel is used in
# catalyst and stage building.

# Run 'make oldconfig' before compiling this kernel?

# Run 'make menuconfig' before compiling this kernel?

# Run 'make nconfig' (ncurses 'menuconfig') before compiling this kernel?

# Note, that two previous lines are mutual exclusive (logically), while
# MENUCONFIG has a higher priority if both them is enabled.

# Run 'make clean' before compilation?
# If set to NO, implies MRPROPER WILL NOT be run
# Also, if clean is NO, it won't copy over any configuration
# file, it will use what's there.

# Run 'make mrproper' before configuration/compilation?

# Override the arch detection?

# Mount BOOTDIR automatically if it isn't mounted?

# Make symlinks in BOOTDIR automatically?

# Save the new configuration in /etc/kernels upon
# successfull compilation

# Use Color output in Genkernel?

# Clear build cache dir

# Clear all tmp files and caches after genkernel has run

# Genkernel uses an independent configuration for MAKEOPTS, and does not source
# /etc/make.conf . You can override the default setting by uncommenting and
# tweaking the following line. Default setting is set up by
# ${GK_SHARE}/${ARCH_OVERRIDE}/config.sh . The recommended value for -j
# argument is: <number of processors>*<number of cores per processor>+1

# Add in LVM support from static binaries if they exist on the system, or
# compile static LVM binaries if static ones do not exist.

# Add in Luks support. Needs sys-fs/cryptsetup with -dynamic installed.

# Add in GnuPG support

# Add DMRAID support.

# Include (or suppresses the inclusion of) busybox in the initrd or initramfs.
# If included, busybox is rebuilt if the cached copy is out of date.

# Use udev instead of mdev as the default device manager for the initramfs.
# If you use systemd and perhaps lvm, you _must_ keep this turned on.

# Includes mdadm/mdmon binaries in initramfs.
# Without sys-fs/mdadm[static] installed, this will build a static mdadm.

# Specify a custom mdadm.conf.
# By default the ramdisk will be built *without* an mdadm.conf and will auto-detect
# arrays during bootup.  Usually, this should not be needed.

# Add Multipath support.

# Add iSCSI support.

# Add e2fsprogs support.

# Enable copying of firmware into initramfs
# Specify directory to pull from
# Specify specific firmware files to include. This overrides FIRMWARE_DIR

# Add new kernel to grub?

# Enable splashutils in early space (initrd). Default is "no".

# Use this splash theme. If commented out - the "default" name theme is used.
# Also, SPLASH="yes" needs to be enabled for this one to one work.
# This supersedes the "SPLASH_THEME" option of /etc/conf.d/splash (in early space).

# Installs, or not, plymouth into the initramfs. If "splash" will be
# passed at boot, plymouth will be activated.

# Embeds the given plymouth theme into the initramfs.

# =========Keymap Settings=========
# Force keymap selection at boot

# Disables keymap selection support

# =========Low Level Compile Settings=========
# GNU Make to use for kernel.  See also the --kernel-make command line option.

# Compiler to use for the kernel (e.g. distcc).  See also the --kernel-cc
# command line option.

# Assembler to use for the kernel.  See also the --kernel-as command line
# option.

# Linker to use for the kernel.  See also the --kernel-ld command line option.

# GNU Make to use for the utilities.  See also the --utils-make command line
# option.

# Compiler to use for the utilities (e.g. distcc).  See also the --utils-cc
# command line option.

# Assembler to use for the utilities.  See also the --utils-as command line
# option.

# Linker to use for the utilities.  See also the --utils-ld command line
# option.

# Variables:
#   %%ARCH%%  - Final determined architecture
#   %%CACHE%% - Final determined cache location

# Set genkernel's temporary work directory.  Default is /var/tmp/genkernel

# Set the boot directory, default is /boot

# Default share directory location

# Location of the default cache
# Location of DISTDIR, where our source tarballs are stored
# Log output file
# Debug Level

# Default location of kernel source
# Default kernel config (only use to override using
# arch/%%ARCH%%/kernel-config-${VER}.${PAT} !)

# Specifies a user created busybox config
#BUSYBOX_APPLETS="[ ash sh mount uname echo cut cat"

# NOTE: Since genkernel 3.4.41 the version of
#   busybox, lvm, mdadm, .. have been moved to
#   /usr/share/genkernel/defaults/software.sh in order to
#   reduce the merging you have to do during etc-update.
#   You can still override these settings in here.

# =========MISC KERNEL CONFIGURATION============
# Tag the kernel and ramdisk with a name:
# If not defined the option defaults to
# 'genkernel'

# This option is only valid if kerncache is
# defined. If there is a valid kerncache no checks
# will be made against a kernel source tree

# Build a static (monolithic kernel)

# Make and install kernelz image (PowerPC)

# File to output a .tar.bz2'd kernel contents
# of /lib/modules/ and the kernel config
# NOTE: This is created before the callbacks
# are run!

# Prefix to kernel module destination, modules
# will be installed in <prefix>/lib/modules
# (.conf equivalent of --module-prefix=<dir>)

# =========MISC INITRD CONFIGURATION============
# Copy all kernel modules to the ramdisk

# Don't copy any modules to the ramdisk

# File to output a .tar.bz2'd kernel and ramdisk:
# No modules outside of the ramdisk will be
# included...

# File to output a .tar.bz2'd modules after the
# callbacks have run

# Directory structure to include in the initramfs,
# only available on >=2.6 kernels

# Build the generated initramfs into the kernel instead of
# keeping it as a separate file

# Compress generated initramfs
# Types of compression: best, xz, lzma, bzip2, gzip, lzop, fastest
# "best" selects the best available compression method
# "fastest" selects the fastest available compression method

# Create a self-contained env in the initramfs

# =========MISC BOOT CONFIGURATION============
# Specify a default for real_root=

Using vlc with the nvidia proprietary driver and no nouveau driver, I have seen no tearing with multiple DVD's - All Seasons of Breaking Bad and Oblivion to name a few, and a Hulu Subscription for Dr Who and such in Chromium Stable. I've also disabled the onboard graphics card in favor of the AGP version of the card listed. In 3 years I havent had to do anything major except a few Hard Drive upgrades, and replace a Wireless NIC


I was experiencing a lot of tearing with NVidia in Arch. I tried the suggestion in this answer to the question you linked. Completely eliminated it for me.

This is with the latest proprietary NVidia driver. I haven't seen any noticeable tearing since in both Mate (marco) and LXDE (openbox).

(if you want more details about my system/setup, let me know)

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