Re: MSI laptop, NVIDIA Geforce 8200M G, Ubuntu 11.04, persistent screen tearing
It sounds like we have the exact same laptop, and I am not getting any tearing at all in kde using the kwin4 window manager. You mentioned the HDMI port .. do you have both the laptop display and the monitor on HDMI active at once with twinview? If so, the nvidia driver can only sync-to-vblank on one of the displays -- see the README.txt file that comes with the drivers. Also note you can pick the monitor to sync with via the __GL_SYNC_DISPLAY_DEVICE environment variable.
I don't use Ubuntu, so I am not sure what options you have for your window manager.
Also, it isn't clear from your post when you are seeing the tearing. Is it when you play video, or when you just move windows around? It may just be a matter of setting the vsync option for your window manager.