Newbie Fix: Firefox Screen Tearing, Intel

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JohnW4SBA
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Newbie Fix: Firefox Screen Tearing, Intel

Post by JohnW4SBA »

I'm a newbie on Mint 19.3 Mate, and a Firefox devotee. I got a Costco cheapo Dell Inspirion with Intel i5-9400 / UHD 630 Coffeelake Graphics driving a 1080p 93" projector. I'm now also a new devotee of 19.3 Mate. :)
But:
The video screen tearing in Firefox 75 was making me crazy, even showing up when fast scrolling large directories in Nemo. I scoured the web looking for a fix, and immediately discovered this is a long-standing and persistent problem for Mint. I saw people suggesting solutions that worked for them, nearly all for different (and apparently expensive) graphics chips. I saw Compiz suggested, and it since looked relatively easy (newbie), tried it - no joy - plus it looked complex and caused another problem [described in a followup Reply below]. I saw Compton suggested, tried it - YAY!! Tearing vanished magically with this SIMPLE newbie fix. So I'm writing this in case it might help anyone else.
Steps [Updated 4/13/2020]:
1. On the Mint Menu click Software Manager.
2. In the search box top-right type Compton.
3. Click on each of the two items (Compton & Compton-conf), and click Install.
*Don't know if both are needed, but it worked.
4. In the Mint Menu click Preferences, then Desktop Settings.
5. Click Windows, then pull down the box to the right of Window Manager, choose
"Metacity + Compton" and close all the stuff you've opened.
*This step 5 might have helped with Compiz, but that product seemed to make
other stuff a bit odd so I went to Software Manager and Removed it.
6. Test to see if screen tearing is gone, and if not try the other Compton option in the
Windows pull down menu. The test I used is here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceX18O9pvLs
7. Restart the computer and test again [see Replies below for details].

I hope this helps, and welcome any feedback.
Last edited by JohnW4SBA on Mon Apr 13, 2020 2:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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JohnW4SBA
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Re: Newbie Fix: Firefox Screen Tearing, Intel

Post by JohnW4SBA »

So today I restarted the PC and... screen tearing was back. :(
I went back into Menu-> Preferences-> Desktop Settings-> Windows-> Window Manager and pulled down the Window Manager selection box. I changed that to "Metacity + Compton" and the screen tearing is gone again. :?
For more options should it return after the next restart, I then used Software Manager to install Compiz so that if screen tearing returns I'll have another thing to try. Hopefully I can find a solution that survives restarts without changing the Window Manager after every restart. I'll of course post an update.
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JohnW4SBA
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Re: Newbie Fix: Firefox Screen Tearing, Intel

Post by JohnW4SBA »

OK, I tried Compiz but it went nuts and locked the screen for about a minute. Since I have a Gparted operation going on that seems risky so I Removed Compiz. Rummaging the web I found a very useful uTube screen test video titled Video Tearing Test:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceX18O9pvLs

I used that to experiment and as expected found that video screen size, Firefox zoom level, and playback speed (probably also 720p vs 1080p video resolution) affect whether it tears and where on the moving vertical line the tear shows up. Full screen seems to be the ultimate stimulus for tearing.

More importantly though, having that uniform test video allows comparing Window Manager selections on a given scaling (e.g. zoom) level. Marco and Metacity alone or with Compositing both tear like crazy, though in different places on the line. Either of the Marco or Metacity options with Compton stop the tearing. Since tearing had returned after the last restart, I've set it to Metacity + Compton so I can test that after the next restart and see if it's reliable with that setting. If anyone tries out their options with that test video, I'd be very interested to know what you find.
TBC...
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JohnW4SBA
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Re: Newbie Fix: Firefox Screen Tearing, Intel

Post by JohnW4SBA »

After restart the screen tearing was still gone, so I've updated the first post in this thread to suggest starting with what worked best for me. YMMV so what works best for you is easy to find out by changing a setting. When the screen resets in a few seconds after you change a Window Manager option in Desktop Settings, just play the test video again. It may also help to restart the computer and test again, since that revealed a better solution for me.

Now that it's working I've run more tests with very fast-moving uTube gaming videos at 1080p and several other test videos. I see a little frame skipping and other limitations of Intel UHD 630, so it's easy to see why people invest in expensive graphics cards and chips. But for everyday work it's ok now because screen tearing is just Gone.

Having read some potentially dangerous looking fixes suggested elsewhere using Terminal commands, it was a big relief finding this simple fix that's working so well. Hope it works for you too. :)
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hal8000
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Re: Newbie Fix: Firefox Screen Tearing, Intel

Post by hal8000 »

I'm a newbie on Mint 19.3 Mate, and a Firefox devotee. I got a Costco cheapo Dell Inspirion with Intel i5-9400 / UHD 630 Coffeelake Graphics driving a 1080p 93" projector.
I dont think there's going to be too many people on the forum with a 93 inch projector, and this is the problem. Any screen artefact, not normally visible on a smaller screen will be magnified by your massive 93 inch monitor,
that's lust under 8 foot diagonal !!

At least you found a solution anyway.
JohnW4SBA
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Re: Newbie Fix: Firefox Screen Tearing, Intel

Post by JohnW4SBA »

Thanks for the reply, hal8000.
artefact, not normally visible on a smaller screen
Your point is well taken in that it's certainly easy to see a 3" tear in the test vid line. :shock:

I mentioned the projection just in case it could be a display problem, before finding the fix. The screen artefact would be obvious even on a 4" screen. I didn't hook the PC up to a monitor, having read online that it's such a common problem.
Update: Here's a pic of the test vid with Mate set to Marco at full 1080p screen (vid is 720p) with uTube set to 1.25 speed to approximate what happens w/native 1080p uTube content. Had to snap it w/camera since there doesn't seem to be a way of catching it in the act with screencaps.
Image

The size, position and offset of the tearing is affected by settings (with more than one torn section of line in some cases), but it's ubiquitous on the default setting. With the simple Compton fix it's completely gone, and hasn't come back at any screen or content settings and after several nightly reboots. Finding that test vid was sure helpful, because it was difficult to reliably reproduce with normal streaming content. The vid let me test options to find that Metacity + Compton works best on this particular PC setup.
At least you found a solution anyway.
You said it! :)
I was dreading the notion of finding a different computer or giving up on Mint Mate. As you can imagine, streaming or even scrolling in Nemo was much worse than even the antique Mac I'm finally getting free of (and will probably put Mint Mate on at some point).

Anyway, hope this thread may be helpful to someone else.
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JohnW4SBA
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Re: Newbie Fix: Firefox Screen Tearing, Intel

Post by JohnW4SBA »

Update: It started tearing again today! :?
I'd been streaming and scrolling fine with no tearing since first applying my "newbie fix" of installing Compton and choosing Metacity + Compton in Desktop settings about ten days ago. This included many Suspends, Restarts and cold boots, and sometimes leaving the PC on overnight (auto-Suspend turned off). Last night I left it on doing an rsync backup, and today noticed moderate tearing while scrolling a Firefox text screen.

Good news: Easy fix. All I did was change the Desktop Window Manager to Metacity + Compositing (still tearing), and back to Metacity + Compton. Tearing was gone, happiness restored. It would be ideal never having to do this, but it's so quick & easy that it's a trivial distraction until there's a permanent fix or no tearing in default Mint.

If anyone has ideas about why this happened or why this easy fix worked, please share. :)
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Brian Potter
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Re: Newbie Fix: Firefox Screen Tearing, Intel

Post by Brian Potter »

I've found marco + compton the best combination for my particular machine. Intel core duo with onboard graphics.

I'd really like to try the cinnamon desktop but as that DE does not support compton I'm only left with Mate or XFCE as my options. I do check forums every now and then to see if anyone has found a quick fix for cinnamon....but alas not yet.
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JoeBingo
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Re: Newbie Fix: Firefox Screen Tearing, Intel

Post by JoeBingo »

I've had screen tearing with Intel video with every Mint Mate version I've installed.
This fix posted by Portreve 4yrs ago solved my problem, and still works ... viewtopic.php?f=208&t=224942#p1197049
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PhilAypee
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Re: Newbie Fix: Firefox Screen Tearing, Intel

Post by PhilAypee »

JohnW4SBA wrote:
Sun Apr 12, 2020 5:58 am
The video screen tearing in Firefox 75 was making me crazy, even showing up when fast scrolling large directories in Nemo. I scoured the web looking for a fix, and immediately discovered this is a long-standing and persistent problem for Mint. I saw people suggesting solutions that worked for them, nearly all for different (and apparently expensive) graphics chips. I saw Compiz suggested, and it since looked relatively easy (newbie), tried it - no joy - plus it looked complex and caused another problem [described in a followup Reply below]. I saw Compton suggested, tried it - YAY!! Tearing vanished magically with this SIMPLE newbie fix. So I'm writing this in case it might help anyone else.
My system has Compton installed by default - at least I didn't install it :!:
Take care,
Phil.

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this doubles your effective lifetime – and thereby gives time to enjoy
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DAMIEN1307
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Re: Newbie Fix: Firefox Screen Tearing, Intel

Post by DAMIEN1307 »

Stop Screen Tearing: INTEL PROCESSORS ONLY!!!

Test sreen tearing as a before and after using this site:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_cont ... xkNy9gfKOg


Open a terminal and run these commands in sequence:...Just copy and paste:

Code: Select all

sudo apt-get install mesa-utils
Then

Code: Select all

sudo mkdir -v /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d

Code: Select all

echo -e 'Section "Device"\n Identifier "Intel Graphics"\n Driver "Intel"\n Option "AccelMethod" "sna"\n Option "TearFree" "true"\nEndSection' | sudo tee /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-intel.conf
Now REBOOT to pick up the changes. It's IMPORTANT that you reboot to apply the changes



To UNDO

Open a terminal and run:

Code: Select all

sudo rm -v /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-intel.conf
Now REBOOT.

Regards, DAMIEN
ORDO AB CHAO
"I refuse to be assimilated, I refuse to become one with the Borg Collective"
Brian Potter
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Re: Newbie Fix: Firefox Screen Tearing, Intel

Post by Brian Potter »

My video tearing has gone now in Cinnamon apart from diagonal tearing when scrolling. The youtube screen tearing test vids are not perfect but a lot better. I often use Lady Gagas "Applause" video as a test as it was where I first noticed terrible tearing a few years ago so its a good yardstick due to the colours and movement, thats my excuse anyway :D

I find that the various methods mentioned above work depending on the individual distro, DE and hardware. On my intel chip (no gpu) in Mint Mate its dead easy to solve - just select compton + marco in window management. Cinnamons muffin compositor seems to have made a big improvement before I added any tweaks but the tearing when scrolling is an annoyance still. I've used the "no tear" conf file option described above in one distro I can't recall which one. And I used a startup script to modify Comptons config in MX Linux. I got short shrift from a guy on here when I asked if i could do that in Mint,,,he told me "this is not windows". :roll:
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Brian Potter
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Re: Newbie Fix: Firefox Screen Tearing, Intel

Post by Brian Potter »

The tearing I mentioned during scrolling only happens in firefox. I remember once using a tweak in FF config settings relating to compositing and tearing. I will have to look it up as I've forgotten it. But I'm pretty happy to discover Cinnamon is usable now on my old hardware. Previously I could only use Mate or XFCE, with the tweaks others have mentioned, to stop the tearing. Cinnamon seems just as good now.
Dell Inspiron 530 Desktop
8GB DDR2 RAM @ 800Mhz, Intel® Core™2 Duo CPU E8600 @ 3.33GHz
Linux Mint 20 Cinnamon
DAMIEN1307
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Re: Newbie Fix: Firefox Screen Tearing, Intel

Post by DAMIEN1307 »

I'm happy to have been of some help to you @Brian Potter and that you are now happier with "cinnamon"...DAMIEN
ORDO AB CHAO
"I refuse to be assimilated, I refuse to become one with the Borg Collective"
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