First note that all Intel hardware up to SandyBridge has functional vsync support with no greater cost than stalling the GPU until the blit can proceed.
The problem is that with the agressive powersaving of SandyBridge and the greater decoupling between the display engine and the GPU, the ability to delay rendering until a particular scanline had passed was assumed to be a legacy feature and the GPU commands to do so were removed. By presuming that all updates would then be through a compositor using pageflipping (i.e. their primary target, Windows Vista/7/8), they were then able to make further power savings. If you use an OpenGL (really DRI2) compositor that only pageflips (i.e. doesn't try to take "advantage" of MESA_copy_sub_buffer), you will not see any tearing, suffer very little jitter, and maximise the power savings of the GPU.