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limit to sets using IN, matching external id

im building a page to upload a csv full of extrenal ids in order to change a status on an object. if data loader tools would recognize the external id, i wouldnt have to build this, but this is to bypass having to download object data and then using vlookup/index to match on salesforce id. so im intending this page to upload a csv, create a query with a large set of external ids and pass to soql like
SELECT Id, Name, Status FROM Object WHERE External_Id IN :external_id_set
Is there a limit to how many elements can be in this set? or a limit to how many characters I can pass through to it? I could build this set then break it up into chunks of 100 or so, just wanted to check before i get too far down this road