I got a Philips DynamicEdge 4.1 soundcard. (I didn't get 5.1 because I use headphones 100% of the time and I don't have the space, or money to waste on all the speakers! ). The card supports EAX and EAX2 which is good for games that support EAX and audio from songs and movies is really good.
The card was easy to install and on the driver CD, if you have any difficulty, there are videos showing you how to install the card and the rest.
The card cost me £25, which is roughly $44. The card isn't the best card on the market, but I chose it over the Soundblaster Live! and I don't regret it (even though I havn't actually tried a Soundblaster Live! ).
I'm not sure how available the card is in the US or the rest of Europe, but it's in most Computer shops in the UK
I just bought a SoundBlaster Audigy 2 ZS ($85) a few hours ago, but you may want to check out the Audigy 2 ZS Platinum. The Platinum Pro seems a bit much, but that's only me. Creative is notorious for their drivers, yea, but there are workarounds.