Surround headsets are a gimmick. Always were and always will be. Simply too many sacrifices in design to really warrent spending a lot on a soundcard.
The answer the OP though, the top 7.1 soundcards are the Auzentech Home Theater HD, and ASUS Xonar Phoebus.
Not completley true. The virtual 7.1 headsets offer some
surround feeling without losing any quality. The ones with actual surround speakers often hav some quality sacrificed to keep the price low (which is why they are generally only available in 5.1), but some (usually a bit more expensive) still retain high quality and rarely audiophile quality (the latter extremely expensive).