I have an Intel i3-3225 (Ivy Bridge) tearing is less on OpenGL even though vsync is enabled. I have to include TearFree in my xorg.conf file, but opens up other problems. When I enable TearFree and xscreensaver sends a stand-by command to my monitor, X Window System crashes. Using OpenGL for video playback is not an option because it is unreliable. I just have to deal with tearing or get a nVidia graphics card. People said that nVidia does not support FOSS, but nVidia supports their graphics for Linux better than other companies.
I use Calculate Linux (Gentoo based) and Xfce as my desktop manager with compositer disabled.
Using a compositer to fix the issue is the most stupidest work-around. Also switching from graphics port to the other is another stupid work-around. Your monitor might have less layers of processing for DVI compared to HDMI.