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Origin of 2GB limit when saving

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Why can't we save .mat objects larger than 2GB without an orders-of-magnitude slowdown? I've read the documentation and understand that it is possible using the -v7.3 flag; I'm interested in the technical reason for the limitation, and if MathWorks has plans to fix it. It seems a bit like an old RAM limitation, but I have to imagine MathWorks would have fixed it by now if that were the case. I know that some FEX functions exist to help with this (eg serialize), and that it's possible to break up data into chunks, but it's always more of a hassle than just saving the .mat. Any insight is welcome, thank you!

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Accepted Answer

Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 30 Dec 2019
The internal size fields of older mat files involve signed 32 bit values.
It might perhaps have been possible to extend to unsigned instead of signed, thus getting up to 4 gigabytes, but that would have been the limit.

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