How to read a GPU name and number (pls help)

I am new to building and upgrading and I have a few questions.

1. ATI/Radeon/GeForce - Brand names?

2. How do I know what number is better than the other? I'm use to thinking the higher the number the better, but after reading so many posts. I don't know which is better.

3. Is there meaning in the numbers? For example 6xxx for this type of use, and 7xxx would be for something else?

4. Is there something like a quick reference chart that could help me?

Thank you for your assistance.
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More about read number help
  1. http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2012-vga-gpgpu/01-3DMark11-B-Performance,2932.html

    heres a list of the most recent Gpus , sorted , from the most powerful to the least ...
  2. ATI and Radeon are one and the same.Geforce is another name for Nvidaa 7000 series newer and 6000 which is newer than 5000.

    Look in Toms for the monthly GPU rating per price point.

    Your choice to either ATI of nVidia
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