USB Soundcard or Audio Interface questions

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Here is my story:

I just bought a Sennheiser PC-350 headset that is the duel 3.5mm in/out connectors (not a USB), and I found out to my dismay that Macbook Pro's, like mine, don't have a "mic-in" jack but a "line-in" jack instead. Figuring this out took some investigation, because when my mic wouldn't, I thought maybe my Windows 7 drivers were screwy, or Bootcamp would only allow the built-in mic to work.
After figuring out the truth, I bought a cheapo 7.1 Channel External USB Audio Sound Card Adapter off eBay for 6 bucks so I could use that to power my mic.

Here are my questions (having Mac knowledge not necessary but might help answer):

There are many different USB audio interfaces, like the iMic, Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1 SB1090 5.1 Channels USB Interface Sound Card, some turtle beach ones, and a plethora of cheaper little USB stick ones. 1) Compared to my integrated on-board Macbook Pro (Summer 2009 Penryn), are any of these higher quality? 2) This may sound ignorant, but I am going for the best surround sound experience I can get out of my headphones (5.1 or 7.1?), is there a card that is just better than the rest (be specific, using hyperlinks would rock) and do I really need to spend an arm and a leg? Finally 3) Switching a game from low quality to high quality sound tends to make my frame rate go from smooth to sluggish, will using a USB audio interface take the pressure off of my CPU and cause the game to run even smoother than on "low quality sound"?

If my questions aren't very clear, or its obvious that I'm assuming something incorrectly, please feel free to point it out or ask me for clarification!
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