For a long time it has bothered me that Compiz does not seem to run as smoothly as Metacity on my desktop system. With desktop effects switched off, moving windows around the screen would seem smoother. With desktop effects switched on, I’d also notice tearing in areas of the screen with fast motion including in videos. I was fiddling with Compiz settings recently and managed to fix the problem entirely. Now, if your graphics card struggles to run Compiz this will probably not help you. But if you have a decent graphics card (mine is a nVidia GeForce 8600 GT) give this a try if you have noticed this problem.
If you haven’t already, you’ll need to install the advanced Compiz configuration utility. Install CompizConfig Settings Manager from the package compizconfig-settings-manager (click the link to install), or by running the command below in your terminal:
sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager
Start CCSM from System->Preferences->CompizConfig Settings Manager. Under the category General, select General Options. Select the Display Settings tab. De-select the Detect Refresh Rate option. Set the Refresh Rate option to match the vertical refresh rate of your display. (I checked my monitor’s on-screen display to verify that it was running 60 Hz.) Finally, select the Sync To VBlank option.
These settings should take effect immediately. If Compiz is still not completely smooth, it won’t hurt to turn the refresh rate up higher.