Method and apparatus for transferring speculative data in lieu of requested data in a data transfer operation. First data are transferred in response to an execution of a first pending command. Speculative data are transferred instead of second data associated with a second pending command during a next available latency period for the second data, preferably when the speculative data are adjudged as having a utility greater than a utility of the second data. The first and second commands are preferably received in a queue and a command execution algorithm identifies the second command as a next best command to be executed after execution of the first command. The above steps are preferably carried out by a controller of a data storage device.


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