Longest string in SQL 2005

With the advent of VARCHAR(MAX) in 2005, is it possible to have a T-SQL variable longer than 8000 bytes?  I tried to do so and it still tops out at 8000 bytes.
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dpbouchardAsked:
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Aneesh RetnakaranDatabase AdministratorCommented:
yes, You can have store upto 2Gb on varchar(max) datatypes
If you are getting only 8000 characters, make sure that the database compatability level is 90
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Guy Hengel [angelIII / a3]Billing EngineerCommented:
> I tried to do so and it still tops out at 8000 bytes.
apart from aeeshattingals' good comment:
how do you see/notice that "limit" ?
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