ezQuake 2.1 alpha (build 3143)
Using game res. 1024x768 and console res. 400x300, allows me a max of 48 characters in notification area.
I set name "m" and using a bind for "say x x x ..." it uses 3 characters, being "m: " (space at the end), leaving 45 for text.
The character number 45 is not shown for hud_notify, but works with con_notify.
I attatched a picture.