Myself i went with Maximus 2.10 and the exosphere theme. True it seems like maximus is a dead project, but it still works great and is very easy to set up and even easier to use. The exosphere theme is hard to find (dead also) but is really nice as well. Check it out on youtube and if you need it, i have the links or can email you a copy.
My first cabinet project i bought an empty shell from some guy about 20 miles from my hometown. When i opened up the cabinet (sidearms) written on the inside was "property of debbie's everything" a local candy store that went out of business. Then i realized i played that very same cabinet as a teen. MAME, bringing back memories and keeping classic games alive is what it's all about.