In SharePoint 2013 my understanding is that each
version of a document is stored as a
delta of the original document.
i.e. each version takes less size on disk (in the content database)
Is this correct?
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In sharePoint 2013 , yes it's correct by dint of
Shredded Storage that is enabled by default
Based on what's the changes that you have to do , it should only save the changes from the previous document , not the full document.
Suppose a user is working with a 10 MB Microsoft PowerPoint Presentation and makes a change — either adding a new slide, removing a slide, modifying attributes, etc.—and saves the file back to the document library where it was initially accessed. In this scenario, only the portion of the file related to the change is written to the database.
if you upload a new document with the same name and extension that totally has different content and bigger than the old one in this case, when the version size should be the size of the changes that it approximately the file size.
for more details check Overview of Shredded Storage in SharePoint 2013