the 17,000 is only been tested by the ToE board of scientific inquiry (Mumblefratz) on DL and maybe DA (though if it's been tested on DA, DA probably did it).
Yes, DA did test it, but the upgrade failed at 12,000 ships on his computer. He sent the savegame to me and I upgraded it for him and sent it back.
I then went on with subsequent games to find my limit in DA to be somewhere above 13,000 and below 15,000 ships. The 15,000 ship game failed to save and I didn't have one between the 13,000 and 15,000 saved. In that case, I gave up on making my second million point game and settled for 946k (my "Evil Twin" character).
I guess the bottom line is that the limit is a moving target, depending on your hardware and available RAM. I had most of my services shut down and was playing disconnected from the internet with no anti-virus running. Also, to score monger, I did as few saves and reloads as possible and left the computer running for weeks at a time. (My wife let me build a computer dedicated to GalCiv2 so I could experiment.)
Ugh, I had ths really shitty time last night at a school dance, I'd prefer not to talk about it but all I can say is that I want to beat the crap out of someone.
Been there. It's good to hear that you withheld violence in that case. Good on ya. Wanting to is ok, but following through can limit your future options in life.