nerd4gw, one of the things that I realized is that the hard drive setup story for MAME is utterly terrible. I was poking around and found out that there is not a good way to set up a hard drive from within the MAME UI at all. This is despite the fact that under the hood, the CHD code does support image creation and it is just a question of wiring up the right data to the UI.
I'm curious how you (and others) set up hard drives for MAME. I tried creating a fresh CHD and trying to run it with 'macse', but it didn't get recognized.