Thinkpad x200

Fixing screen tearing in VLC

I’m in love with my new old ThinkPad X200, but for all its great achievements, it had a major drawback when it came to play videos in Xubuntu. Here’s how I fixed the awful screen tearing in VLC and Parole.

I got the machine this week and did the usual: burn a Xubuntu live USB and install it. Everything pretty much worked out of the box except for one annoying thing: ugly screen tearing when playing videos using Parole or VLC.

The usual suspect here could not be the graphics card since the computer relies on the integrated Intel graphics. I first thought the culprit was the old CPU, but as it turns out, the XFCE compositor was to blame and I chose to replace it with another one.

After some investigation I found this post that recommends installing compton, an alternative compositor, and copying a config file. I’m happy to report that everything now works fine, and to my surprise, even large 1080p mp4 files play great.

I’m extremely pleased with the ThinkPad. Even with its somewhat meager hardware (a Core 2 Duo with a couple gigabytes of RAM and a magnetic 160Gb hard-drive), it boots under a minute and performs every task I throw at it without a hiccup.

The next steps I think will be to get a new battery, upgrade the RAM to 8 gigs, and throw an SSD in for good measure.