Unless this has changed recently, as I haven't played since launch, but the game is split in 2 process-wise. One process is dedicated to rendering and one acts like a server making IO calls and such. Every time an asset is requested, it's grabbed new from the hard drive. There were a "bad DRM" threads back then over it. But, I saw you made no mention of your drive set up. Often, at least then, the fix for this was to use SSDs or RAM disks for game assets. I could use moderately high quality settings on my 3 year old laptop with RAM disks.
What's your setup in that regard?
1TB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive 6.0 Gb/s
I tend to believe that you are on to something here. After switching several times between high shadow and low shadow (for this game that basically means no shadow) and watching the FPS feedback, I'm getting primarily green simulation bound limitation. Still, it should not take an SSD to run this game with shadow detail. The swtor forums reveal that I'm not the only one with mid to high performance machines having this problem.